Breakfast just got better!
Chocolate is one of the foods I could never live without, really the only other one is pizza. As prep for some endurance riding and because my husband wanted a tasty recovery snack, I began my long quest to make the perfect "power ball". I failed many times, but also found a few recipes that came close. This recipe is based on Rich Roll and Julie Piatt's Superfood Energy Balls in Plant Powered Way. It has taken me a number of times to get the consistency right. Here is my final version. Loaded with amazing fuel, eat them up, make more, eat them again, no guilt.
16 Medjool dates
1/2 cup cacao nibs
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
6 tablespoons hemp hearts
4 tablespoons raw cocoa powder, plus a little extra for dusting
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch sea salt, I like course Himalayan
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
Place dates, cacao nibs, walnuts, peanut butter, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla and 4 tablespoons of hemp seeds into a food processor and pulse until the ingredients begin to come together into a ball. Prepare three plates, one with cocoa powder, one with coconut flakes and one with hemp seeds. Place a small amount of coconut oil in your hands and rub together, this will keep the batter from sticking. Make 1 inch balls by rolling the dough between your hands. Roll in your desires topping. Makes about 18 balls, 9 coated with cocoa powder, 9 with hemp seeds and 9 with shredded coconut.
My autumn cleanse brought me closer to understanding turmeric's powerful anti-inflammatory properties first hand. Firstly, I should say I am a coffee addict and while I only have 1 cappuccino, occasionally 2, per day, without it, I am no fun to be around. So for my cleanse this year I opted for a slow descent down the caffeine highway and once I let go of the dairy, I followed with espresso, then moved to black tea and finally, herbal tea. All the while, I made this turmeric elixir each day, sometimes adding fire cider (apple cider vinegar infused with cayenne pepper) if I wanted an extra shot of warmth. To my surprise, I experienced absolutely no headaches, no body aches and I noticed my digestion was much calmer. So here is my new addiction - Liquid Gold. I have always been an advocate for using turmeric in cooking because of it's amazing benefits, but there is nothing like experiencing the fruits of your labor, plus, it tasted really good!
2 cups hot water
1 teaspoon grated turmeric
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Fire cider or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
In a large mug, make a paste using all the ingredients sans fire cider. Pour hot water over the paste, stir and let steep for 3 minutes. Strain into another mug or cup and add fire cider.
I still remember the exact moment I sunk my teeth into a slice of gluten-free bread, it was made with buckwheat flour by my high school tennis coach. He invited all of us over for an end of season dinner. It was 1984. I remember the slightly nutty flavor of this dark brown bread, served with sweet butter. Delicious. I didn’t know then, what I do now about my body’s intolerance to gluten. But I do still think about how good I felt after eating that amazing slice of goodness.
Over the years, my gluten intolerance symptoms have ranged from back pain, achy joints, fatigue, mouth sores, brain fog, gas and bloating. Summer is when I usually fall off my gluten-free dietary habits purely because I am hosting many guests, living at the beach and not necessarily able to get the gluten free items I love most. So, I take a break and see how I fare. As my gut becomes stronger, I just don’t have the same symptoms from years ago, but when it comes down to it, I just feel better all around when I am more or less grain free. What do I miss most? Bread of course.
So with that back to school excitement, I am back in my kitchen playing around with ingredients, keeping it real. This recipe was adapted from Nom Nom Paleo’s “Better Off Bread”. It is easy to make and has a dense, moist quality that will definitely have your guests begging for the recipe. I serve with butter and jam, cheese and chutneys. Delicious, grain-free, gluten-free and gets 5 stars from the kid, especially when I serve it with Nutella!
1 ½ cups Almond Flour
1 cup Hazelnut Flour
1 heaping T Cornmeal
3 T Cold butter
1 ½ T Baking Soda
¼ t Sea Salt
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
1 T Honey
1 T Lime juice
Set oven to bake at 350. Mix together almond flour, hazelnut flour, baking soda, sea salt. Chop 2 tablespoons of cold butter and hand mix with dry ingredients. Mixture should remain crumbly. In a separate bowl whisk together 2 large eggs, apple cider vinegar, lime juice and honey. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix together by hand. Sprinkle dough with cornmeal and form into a nice ball. Let rest. Using a cast iron or enamel, oven-safe pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter.
Remove pan from heat and place the ball of dough in the pan and lightly flatten so the round is about 2 inches in height all the way around. Using a butter knife, mark the dough with an “X”. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the crust becomes golden brown. Let cool and serve warm with butter, honey, jam, chutney or cheese.
When the living is easy and the potluck picnics are underway, I always bring one of my signature salads. A little marketing while socializing? It's the only way. With the next LK5 "Love your body" Summer Cleanse coming up in a few weeks, this salad has ben on my mind. Everyone loves it, on or off the cleanse, and I love the variations it offers. Recently I used basil and cilantro as the main herbal ingredients, and I think each and every person who ate it, asked for the recipe. Wanna be that person at your next potluck? Make this!
1 cup green french lentils
2-3 cups veggie broth or water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems
1/4 cup chopped mint or basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 large bunch of arugula, watercress or spinach, or all three mixed.
Juice from 1 lime
1/4 cup olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 pinch turmeric
½ avocado, sliced lengthwise
In a medium saucepan, sauté 1 garlic clove with 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat for about 1 minute. Add lentils and toss them until well coated, about 1 minute. Add broth and sea salt. Bring lentils to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 25 minutes or until they have reached desired tenderness. Drain and chill for about an hour (lentils can be made a day ahead).
While lentils are cooking, chop herbs and wash greens. Once lentils have cooled, toss herbs, green onions and lentils with dressing and serve over a bed of greens with sliced avocado.
In a food processor, add lime juice, 1 garlic clove, remaining olive oil, turmeric and cumin. Blend for 1 minute.
Sometimes chocolate is the perfect cure. These flourless chocolate bites are loaded with good protein, good fat, good fiber and great taste! Don’t let the black beans scare you away, they are the secret ingredient that will get you that blue ribbon at your next brownie bake-off! I am a brownie fanatic and I wanted to work with a recipe that made me feel less guilty about indulging in these delicious chocolatey bites. After my own gluttonous brownie bake-off that included some very indulgent ingredients, I settled on this simple recipe in the end. It turns out that you don’t need a ton of ingredients for good brownies. Try these, you might never go back to your old recipe and you can feel good about putting them in your child’s lunch box time and again!!!
1 ¾ cup/ organic black beans, well rinsed and drained (or 1 15oz can)
2/ flax eggs*
3 tblsp/ coconut oil, melted
¾ cup/ high quality cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting each brownie
¼ tsp/ sea salt, plus extra for dusting each brownie, I use Celtic sea salt.
1 tsp/ pure vanilla extract
½ cup/ cane sugar
1 ½ tsp/ baking powder
Optional toppings: crush walnuts, pecans or semisweet chocolate chips. I always go with chocolate chips for the win!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 12-slot standard size muffin pan.
Prepare *flax eggs by combining 2 tablespoons of flax meal with 6 tablespoons of water in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a couple times and then let rest for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients (excluding optional toppings) and puree until smooth. If the batter appears too thick, add a tablespoon or two of water and pulse again. It should be slightly less thick than chocolate frosting but nowhere close to runny. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tins.
Optional but recommended: Sprinkle with crushed walnuts, pecans or chocolate chips.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides. I found mine took about 27 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove from the tins. The insides are meant to be very fudgy, so don't be concerned if they seem too moist - that's the point. Dust with Celtic sea salt and cocoa powder.
Every Spring I am ready to ramp up my metabolism with a daily dose of greens. Whether I drink them, stew them, saute them or eat them raw, it is a craving that arises when the weather begins to shift from cold and damp to that nice light crisp 70 degree, sunshine filled day. It took awhile this year, but I think the seasonal shift is fully upon us.
Spring is a time of rejuvenation, Nature is in her birth cycle. It is the perfect time to focus on detoxification and healing through self-care. In Chinese medicine, spring is the time of the liver and gallbladder organs, making this cleansing time even more valuable. The liver is not only the body’s major detoxification organ, it also happens to be the great smoother of the emotions. When we commit to self-care and self-preservation through detoxification, the liver is able to refresh, soften and come alive, much the way a naked tree awakens and blossoms as the weather warms.
Take advantage of these energetics and start each day with a meaningful end to your overnight fast. I love juicing this time of year because I feel like it sets to me up to make the best choices for my body through out the rest of the day! So dust off the juicer, keep it in sight for the next month and haul your body over to the farmers market and get those greens!
3-4 romaine leaves
1-2 bok chop leaves and stems
1 handful spinach
1 small cucumber
1 green apple
1 stalk celery
1 kale leaf
1 small handful parsley leaves and stems
1 lemon, skin removed
1-2 inch piece of ginger(optional, but recommend if weather is cool)
Add ingredients, one at a time, into your juicer and drink up. If you don't have a juicer you can add 1 cup of purified water to a high powered blender like a vitamix and blend all the ingredients until smooth. I recommend removing the celery threads (requires a bit of patience) and the kale stem. Blend the leaves first and then add in everything else.
Two separate trips to Nicaragua and Mexico last month left my gut bacteria a little overwhelmed and after returning home with constant pain after eating and other "TMI" digestive complaints I settled in for a day of rest and bone broth prep.
I checked my freezer for veggie scraps and bones purchased from a farm in Pennsylvania that is certified humane. While I like to keep my diet plant-based as much as possible, my Chinese medicine roots have taught me to REALLY listen to my body. I needed broth that was slow cooked with roots, herbs and stems, plenty of garlic and ginger to soothe and a touch of apple cider vinegar and cayenne to finish.
I simmered the ingredients for 12 hours and then moved them to the crock pot overnight. I am thankful for the ability to have the time to open up my kitchen medicine cabinets allowing food to become the real medicine when I am not at my best. Practitioners are not always the best patients, but when you take the time to prepare your food and drink your medicine, good things happen for all to see.
Bone broth has become the new green juice and when the seasonal shift or cultural transition have left you feeling acidic and inflamed, the nourishment here will not fail you. I have spent two days drinking this golden elixir adding in bits of carrots and potatoes from the the pot. One more day and I will be totally back on track. Healing is rarely successful when you go for the quick fix. Taking the time to be active in your process is a true gift.
BASIC BONE BROTH
3-5 lbs chicken bones
2 celery stalks
1 hard onion, cut in half
1/2 bulb of garlic, cloves crushed
1 finger of garlic
1 large carrot
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 small turmeric root or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
apple cider vinegar
Place all ingredients into a large stock pot. Cover with water by 2-3 inches. Bring to a boil, then turn to simmer and cover. Let the stock go for as many hours as you can, ideally 6-12. You can also make the entire stock in a crock pot. I like to move the stock and ingredients to a slow cooker after it has been on the stove for a while to cook overnight. This is ideal to get the most nutritional benefit out of your broth.
Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of cayenne to each cup. Drink it down and feel better!
LK Tropical Smoothie Bowl
It's summer time somewhere and from a Chinese medicine perspective this is when I tell my clients that it is safe to add in some raw fruit and veg to the diet. In fact, the cleansing effects of a plant-based diet comes when you eat a fair amount of raw food. This doesn't work for everyone and it certainly doesn't work for me on a consistent basis, but in summer, this is my breakfast style of choice. Making a smoothie bowl is so easy and your entire family will love to create their own. This is my favorite way to start a hot summer day.
1 c/ frozen mango
1/2 frozen banana
1 c/ coconut milk
1 tablespoon hempseeds
1 teaspoon Chia seeds
¼ cup mixed nuts and dried fruit
2 tablespoons buckwheat groats (I love these for the CRUNCH!)
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
Assemble ingredients, except garnish, into a Vitamix or high powered blender. Mix until smooth and creamy. You may have to work at this a bit by turning machine on and off to stir things up. You want it to be thick like ice cream. Pour into bowls and sprinkle with garnish items. Eat immediately.