Monthly Archives: November 2014

Gluten Free Tourtiere – French Canadian Meat Pie – with Kale and Celery Root!

French Canadian Meat Pie - Tourtiere (made gluten free and a little less carb heavy).

French Canadian Meat Pie – Tourtiere (made gluten free and a little less carb heavy).

I know we just finished Thanksgiving but bookmark this one for when Christmas rolls around in a few weeks! How many of you ate “meat pie” on Christmas Eve?

Can I just tell you that when I decided to stop eating flour on a regular basis the thing that made me waver on it the most was meat pie???? Not pizza, not cake, not sandwiches, but something I ate only once or twice a year.  I grew up in a household that ate French Canadian Tourtiere (also known as meat pie) every Christmas Eve after we came home from the 7pm Mass (and right before my sisters and I exchanged Christmas presents with each other).  My mother was the cook in our household and she passed away in 2001 so while a lot of our traditions have changed since, I’m always quick to hold on to whatever I can that reminds me of her.  Tourtiere was not one I was willing to give up.  Just the smell of it cooking in the kitchen reminds me of being a kid and all the fond memories that go with holidays around that. It’s kind of funny how hard I’ve held on to that, especially considering I didn’t even eat pork or beef from my early teenage years until just a few years ago – but that reminder of family times is still there.

Looks naked without a top crust, I know, but it tastes so similar to the one I had as a kid - and won't make me feel terrible later!

Looks naked without a top crust, I know, but it tastes so similar to the one I had as a kid – and won’t make me feel terrible later!

Earlier this fall, on a chilly evening, I realized I had all the ingredients on hand to make Tourtiere but I didn’t want to make it with wheat flour – knowing that if I did, I would feel bloated, constipated and have joint pain for the next 4-5 days afterward. I decided I’d make a crust of sorts with coconut flour and I also decided to lighten up the carb load by using celery root instead of potatoes. And being the weirdo I am, I added a few cups of chopped kale to it too.  Believe it or not, the kale blends right in with the strong spice flavors so don’t shy away if you are a meat pie fan and want to make it a little healthier. And the celery root is completely passable as potato!!

I went with just a crust on the bottom of this pie instead of the traditional top and bottom crust because in all honesty, I’m not the best “dough” person.  I’m not super experienced in working with coconut flour or any other gluten free flour (let’s be honest – dough of any flour type fears me) and while I felt confident that I could make a pat in pan type of crust for this, I wasn’t so sure I could roll it out on top of the pie.  I’m sure there is a way to do it but the first night I made it, it wasn’t going to happen.  The second night I made this I tried to roll it out but I don’t think I moistened the flour enough – it might have worked had I added a second egg or some extra liquid.  I’m sure there are bloggers out there who can come up with a much better pastry than me for this particular dish – a couple of google searches will probably take you to them.  BUT, I have to say, the pie holds it’s shape pretty well without the second crust and the flavors all mimic the original pretty well.

No, celery root is not potato, no coconut flour is not wheat flour, and no kale isn’t extra pork or pork fat . . . but with these substitutions this is a dish that tastes like Christmas Eve without making me feel heavy and lethargic afterwards.

Try it and let me know what you think!

1 lb grass fed ground beef or
1/2 lb organic ground pork & 1/2 lb grass fed ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 large celery root / celeriac, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
a pinch of ground allspice (or more)
1 head of kale, chopped finely (steamed if you like it very tender)
sea salt and black pepper

Crust (makes just one layer of crust)
1/4 cup coconut oil or butter
1 egg
1/2 cup coconut flour
generous pinch of salt

Put beef/pork, onion, celery root, water and bay leaf in a pot and simmer covered, stirring occasionally (to break up the meat and celery root) for 40 minutes, remove cover and let simmer for another 10 or until water is cooked off. Mash gently with potato masher if celery root isn’t completely broken up. While meat mixture is cooking, make your crust (fyi- this is just a one crust pie – different than traditional tourtiere).

That crust looks pretty good huh?

That crust looks pretty good huh?

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt your coconut oil or use softened butter and mix into coconut flour.  Add 1 egg and a pinch of salt and mix until well combined. If it seems very dry you can add a tbsp of water but it should resemble a thick dough. Transfer the dough to a pie plate and press out into the plate using your hands.  You’ll need to press from the center and work out to the sides. Don’t be shy about pressing it firmly and working it up the plate – coconut oil firms up as it cools and the warmth from your hands will help it be more malleable.

Once you have it covering the pie plate, bake the crust for 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking, stir in cinnamon, cloves, allspice and (raw or steamed) kale into the celery root and meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper.  Stir for a minute or two until kale wilts and then pour into the baked pie crust.  Bake the pie at 400 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.  The longer you let it sit, the more firm it will be for serving. Serve with a tomato relish or ketchup (that’s how we ate it growing up!).

Note: Don’t be shy with this – the second time I made this I added mushrooms and dandelion greens instead of kale and it also blended in really well.  What swaps can you make in some of your childhood favorites that might be more nutritious?

Garlic Ginger Stir Fry with Chicken, Pak Choi, Red Cabbage & Japonica Rice

Bright green, purple and orange means you're getting a wide variety of nutrients in your diet.

Bright green, purple and orange means you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients in your diet.

I know right now you are busy getting ready for Thanksgiving so the last thing you are thinking about is healthy dinners you can make – but I’m guessing, the week after Thanksgiving you may feel differently! Bookmark this page so when you can’t eat another tablespoon of gravy or cranberry sauce you have something lighter you can rely on. Also, today is the last day to register for the 1st round of the 12 Day Natural Detox starting December 1st, so click here if you want in!  Another round starts December 13th and you can register for that one until December 6th. Anyway, back to stir fry!

Do you find you avoid making stir fry ever because you feel like you need store a bought sauce to pull off anything tasty?  I used to feel that way too but I finally started playing around with making my own because – well #1 it’s better for you and #2 stir fry is such an easy meal, I want to be able to make it anytime I want! If you keep a few simple ingredients on hand (like tamari, fish sauce, sriracha, sesame oil, broth, ginger, garlic, sherry and rice vinegar) you can make some really delicious food very simply!  You may find you need to add a little brown sugar to make a sauce stand out if you’re used to sweet store bought sauce – and that’s ok – but I urge you to see what you can accomplish without sugar first.  Cook and taste it.  If it still needs sugar add a tiny sprinkle.  I left sugar out of this recipe because I don’t really feel like it needs it, but I think I’m accustomed to a lower sugar diet more than others are.  Adding sriracha or cooking sherry is another way you can brighten the flavors here.  Experiment!

This gets most of it’s flavor from the generous amount of garlic, ginger and fresh turmeric in it.  They add a spicy, earthy flavor and are so good for us!

I used black japonica rice here because I love it! It has a sweet nutty flavor to it and it takes the same amount of time to cook as brown or wild rice.  It’s nice to have some variety.  One of the great benefits of trying different things is the range of nutrients you can get in your diet that way.  Black japonica rice gets it rich color from a type of flavonoids called anthocyanins (red cabbage, cranberries and cherries do too!) which are known for providing many health benefits – they show promise for protection from atherosclerosis, inhibition of tumor cells and preventing inflammation.  How do make sure you’re getting enough anthocyanins and other antioxidants in your diet? By making sure you eat a rainbow of color every day. This stir fry is a vibrant green (pak choi), purple (rice and cabbage) and orange (turmeric) – making it an awesome option for someone trying to increase the amount of color in their diet.

1 lb organic chicken breasts or tenders, cut into bite size pieces
2 inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled, finely diced or grated
2 inch chunk of fresh turmeric, washed, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp low sodium tamari
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp five spice powder
3 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
2 medium sized baby pak choi roughly chopped (bok choy works too)
1/2 large red cabbage, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup black japonica rice, cooked

Makes 4 servings

chicken marinating and stir fried veggies.

chicken marinating and stir fried veggies.

Marinate the chicken in the tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil, five spice powder, turmeric, ginger and garlic while you prepare your vegetables.  Heat a large wok or saute pan over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp coconut oil.  When the oil is melted and the pan is hot, saute the celery, onion, pak choi and red cabbage and saute for 3 – 4 minutes.  You may need to do this in batches so that the vegetables don’t steam – you want them to cook quickly and for a short period of time.   When the vegetables are slightly tender, remove them from the pan, place in a large bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.  Put the pan back on the burner and add the marinating chicken mixture.  Cook for 7 – 10 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through and the sauce thickens a little.  Serve the black japonica rice topped with the vegetable mixture and then topped with the chicken mixture.

This doesn’t make a lot of sauce but I think you’ll find when you use fresh vegetables and fresh aromatic ingredients to cook with that you won’t need as much! Having extra tamari on hand is good for those who need a little extra flavor on their plate.  I also like to keep homemade sriracha on hand or buy a brand that doesn’t have a bunch of preservatives in it (whole foods has a few options) because I love the spicy stuff for meals like this!
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Toasted Millet with Mizuna, Kale and Sausage

Not a pretty dish but really good! Looks aren't everything people!

Not a pretty dish but really good! Looks aren’t everything people!

You guys are going to think I eat sausage every day.  It seems like that sometimes because my favorite meals are the ones that include it! Haha! In all seriousness, we get quite a few pounds of organic sausage from well cared for pigs from our local CSA every season and since it cooks up fast and defrosts quickly, I sometimes use it up faster than I do the other meats we get out of sheer convenience.  Rest assured, I am not eating sausage 5 days a week, though John would tell you I would totally do it if it was possible and / or good for me.

While there is nothing mind blowing about this recipe (it contains only 6 ingredients-not counting salt and pepper), we really enjoyed it so I thought I’d share – especially because it’s so simple.  I’m constantly looking to remind clients (and everyone else in the world) that eating well doesn’t have to mean long laborious processes or a long list of expensive ingredients.  A few simple high quality ingredients are all you really need and truly doesn’t take much time or energy to prepare.

Oh, and if you can find mizuna at your local store or farm (I get it – we just received a lot of it this summer and fall so that’s why I’m using it in recipes), try arugula.  Mizuna is a tiny bit spicy (but not as spicy as arugula or mustard greens) and can be eaten raw or cooked.   Really, any green that cooks quickly can be used here.

This makes 4 servings.

1 lb spicy italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup uncooked millet*
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 big bunch mizuna, washed and roughly chopped*
2 cups kale or swiss chard, washed, ribs removed and chopped
sea salt & black pepper to taste

Start by toasting your millet.  Millet doesn’t have to be toasted to be eaten but it certainly tastes better when you do!  Spread 1 cup of uncooked millet in a large skillet and heat to low medium heat.  Gently “cook” the millet for 5 minutes or so (I feel like this depends on your stove top – if you have gas, this will take less time.  If you have a ridiculously slow glass electric top like me, you could be here for a bit!), shaking the pan or stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure all grains are gently toasted.  The color will turn slightly more golden and it might start to smell like popcorn.  This is when you want to take it off the heat.

Toasted and cooked millet

Toasted and cooked millet

To cook the millet, heat 2 cups of water in a medium sized pot, add the millet (careful not to burn yourself as I did this particular night – oops), a tiny pinch of salt and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce to a simmer, cooking for 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the millet sit in the covered pot until you are ready to serve.

While the millet is cooking, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in a large skillet (fine to use the one you toasted the millet in) and when it’s melted and the pan is hot, add the casing free sausage.  Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go.  Once the sausage is cooked through, add in the diced red onion, mizuna and kale and cook until the onion is softened and fragrant (about 5-7 minutes).  Season with sea salt and pepper to taste and serve over the toasted millet.

That’s all there is to it!  I served it with a dollop of pesto on the side but it wasn’t necessary by any means (but pesto would be a great accompaniment if you felt you needed one because it goes great with everything).

*If you have hypothyroidism, skip the millet and use quinoa or another grain.  Millet has goitrogenic properties and while contains many valuable nutrients is not a good fit for those with thyroid issues.
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Surviving Thanksgiving – Tips, Recipes & More

photo credit: ldandersen via photopin cc

photo credit: ldandersen via photopin cc

The holidays can be a stressful time, can’t they? So much to do and there’s really not enough time to do it all. This year marks my 8th year hosting Thanksgiving. Those first couple of years were insane and hilarious as I tried to A) make food that didn’t taste horrible and B) get food on the table while it was still hot.I feel like I’ve got it down to a science to make it as least stressful as possible so for today’s email I’m sharing some of my favorite tips for a smooth experience and some healthy & delicious Thanksgiving recipes in case you are looking for a less indulgent meal!

Don’t get me wrong, my Thanksgiving dinner is pretty indulgent! I assure you we’re not eating wheat grass and berries all day! But I do make everything (except for one thing) from scratch. John would kill me if I tried to take away his canned cranberry sauce. I’m not convinced there are any cranberries even in it but to him, it’s not Thanksgiving if he doesn’t have a gelatinous, can-shaped slice of red high fructose corn syrup on his plate.  Pick your battles folks!

Anyhow, here are the goodies I’ve promised!

Healthy & Delicious Thanksgiving Recipes
1. Check out these vegan Thanksgiving Recipes by Kris Carr. Many vegan recipes at the holidays use meat substitutes made from wheat protein and processed soy which is terrible for us but Kris Carr focuses on whole foods – that is a vegan lifestyle I can support! Her recipes are delicious and aren’t too laborious.

2. Check out these paleo Thanksgiving Recipes by Diane Sanfilippo. The green bean casserole we all grew up with pales in comparison to hers! Lots of delicious stuff here that you can use throughout the holiday season.

3. Raw Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream. So, if you’re not used to raw deserts, the texture of this one might put you off at first, but if you like adventure and are open, I think you will love this! It’s absolutely delicious and it’s certainly a treat worthy of Thanksgiving!

4. Raw Carrot Cake Bites.  These are incredibly rich! Definitely cut them up into bite sized pieces or you will feel like a ton of bricks is in your belly (something we’d like to avoid). Same warning as above goes – be open to texture change.  The first time I had these I was so impressed by how much the coconut oil & soaked cashews tasted like a cream cheese frosting. When I was blending it in my blender I remember thinking “there’s no way this is going to taste good!” but after some time in the freezer:  Mind totally blown!

Tips for a Sane Thanksgiving
1. Don’t do your grocery shopping during peak times. The busiest times tend to be weekends, early morning and early evening (you know, when everyone is on their way home from work). Try shopping after dinner (the later the better) or mid-day during the week if possible and avoid the day before Thanksgiving at all costs!

2. Scan over the recipes you’re planning to make and chop & prep all veggies (except potatoes) a few days before.  Onions, celery, carrots, and butternut squash all stay fresh for several days if you keep them tightly sealed. I recommend double or triple sealing chopped onions in multiple bags or containers if you’ve chopped several! They will flavor everything in the fridge if you don’t.

3. Get out all platters, serving utensils and serving dishes that you will need during the actual serving of the meal (including appetizers, drinks and dessert) and set them up on a counter or table the night before. The last thing you want to do in the middle of cooking is try to figure out where you last saw your pie server 364 days ago. It will make a huge difference in how smoothly things go during the event with a little planning. I even set them up in the order I will be using them and place the utensil needed for that item right on top.

4. Think about planning out your timing . If you’ve never cooked a big meal for a holiday before and are worried about having everything done on time, take some time to “plan” a strategy. I actually make a spreadsheet and make a column that lists everything I’m making, one column for oven temps, another for approximate cooking times and then I create another column with the time that I need to put something in the oven or start something on the stovetop. To figure this out, I work backwards from the time I want to serve dinner and subtract the cooking times (and resting time for the turkey) until I know what time each item needs to get started on.  I then sort the column that lists each dish by the order it will be started – turkey goes in first, gravy is done last etc.  I even include a row for steps I might forget about when I’m mingling with guests or cooking, such as reminders to take appetizers out of the fridge at a certain time so that they’re room temperature, or to open a bottle of wine to breathe.  I know it all sounds a little Type A to do it that way but it takes so much work out of the day if you sketch it out!  I even do planning like this with cleaning for holidays, gifts and anything else that is easy to forget when really busy.  Find a system that resonates with you and you’ll never go back to winging it ever again!

5. Enjoy the food, the people and the day. No matter what your way of eating and no matter what kind of food is on your table on Thanksgiving – enjoy it!  Take a little bit of all the foods you enjoy and savor each bite.  Problems arise when we view certain foods as “off-limits” or “bad”.  Barring any health condition that actually requires you not eat certain foods for your safety (such as in the case of nut allergies or celiac disease), there’s little harm to your waistline with just one meal.  Relax and enjoy every bite! Then try to go back to normal eating the next day.  It’s ok if you treat yourself to one indulgence over the few days following (with all those leftovers, how could you not?) but try not to see it as a free for all.  You deserve to enjoy it, but you don’t deserve to feel crappy about yourself, and you will if you see it as a feast or famine situation. Christmas is around the corner – there are plenty more treats coming.

And if the holiday season tends to be a food free for all for you and you’re tired of gaining weight each year, consider joining my 12 Day Natural Detox program.  Groups start December 1st and 13th.  Either one you choose will help you get your cravings under control and still enjoy Christmas day. It’s all real food that you prepare yourself. No weird packaged processed junk to buy! You may feel so good afterwards that you change your eating habits permanently like I did.

If I don’t talk to you before then, have a lovely, warm and relaxing Thanksgiving with your family and friends! I have a lot to be grateful for this year – including all of you!

This was originally posted as an email. To be included on this list, sign up in the green box below!
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Coconut Curry Soup with Cod, Carrots & Zucchini

Tastes way better than it looks. Someday I'll remember to take a pic before I've let it cook for too long!

Tastes way better than it looks. Someday I’ll remember to take a pic before I’ve let it cook for too long!

This meal was the result of a total “there’s nothing to eat in the house, what can we eat for dinner?” but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise (which let’s be honest, could have been a disaster).  It was filling and satisfying without being too heavy and the ginger & turmeric broth was great for a chilly night.  I was running pretty low on veggies (rare in this house), had a plantain that was going to be too ripe if I didn’t hurry up and use it and had some cod in the freezer.  I had coconut milk but no curry paste, no scallions, no cilantro etc.  I was half ready to pick up the phone to ask John to grab some takeout on his way home but I tasted it and it was actually pretty good.  I am not a fan of fish in soups . . .so this would not be my first choice of ingredients together. . . but I’m very grateful that random pantry & refrigerator cooking didn’t turn out disgusting!

The plantain does a great job of thickening the broth and adds a little sweetness that rounds out the flavors (especially since I didn’t have some of my usual curry staples on hand).  And it blends in pretty well – if someone didn’t tell you there was plantain in it, you’d probably have no idea.  If you don’t have access to plantains, you can try adding a grated potato or sweet potato instead.

And I hope it goes without saying, use the full fat coconut milk (not the lite stuff).  There is not much other fat in this meal (cod, veggies, spices) and the saturated fat in coconut milk and coconut oil are good ones to have in your diet.  Remember, keeping your blood sugar stable and cravings under control is really about having a balance of fat, protein and fiber in every meal and if you try to go very low fat you throw that balance off and you may find yourself digging in the cabinet for sweet treats not too long after dinner.  Fat = satisfaction.

Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
5 medium carrots, peeled, sliced
1 large shallot, diced
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 can coconut milk (Look for BPA free brands like Arroy-D and Native Forest)
2 cups unsalted vegetable or chicken broth
1 inch chunk ginger, peeled, finely diced
1 inch chunk fresh turmeric root, peeled, finely diced
3 medium zucchini thickly, sliced
1 to 1 1/4 lbs wild cod fillets (or other white fish)
1 yellow plantain, peeled and grated or diced
big handful of fresh parsley or cilantro
sea salt and black pepper to taste
optional: a big squeeze of fresh lime juice
optional: cayenne or red curry paste for heat

Heat the coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  When hot, saute the onion, shallots and carrots for 3 – 4 minutes, then add the curry powder, cardamom and smoked paprika and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the coconut milk, broth, ginger, turmeric and plantain to the pan and bring to a boil.  Add the cod and zucchini, submerge, cover and bring back to a boil and reduce to a low simmer.
Cook for another 7-9 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.  Stir in the parsley or cilantro, season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lime juice and serve.

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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel, Delicata Squash and Tomatoes

thighs3I’m turning in to a squash lady.  I’ve had more squash this fall than ever before, probably because our CSA at Middle Branch Farm gave us many varieties this year (blue hubbard, red kuri, butternut, acorn, buttercup etc).  Oh and I’ve fallen in love with kabocha squash – I could eat it daily.  So here’s yet another recipe with squash in it! Tis the season and this girl likes to eat in season when she can.

Anyhow, I feel like this isn’t really a recipe since it’s a typical type of meal for us – random vegetables and protein roasted together in one pan. Boom.  Dinner is done.  But this one was pretty tasty (thanks to flavorful fennel, garlic and the richness of chicken thighs) so I wanted to share it, again as an example of how eating whole foods and avoiding processed food doesn’t have to be incredibly difficult.  To show you that you CAN do this. This was so delicious that I ate leftovers of it for breakfast the next morning.  Yeah, eating whole foods regularly makes you opt for non-traditional breakfasty foods on a pretty regular basis.  I don’t question it, I just eat!

I actually had never had delicata squash before but I saw organic ones at the store this week and decided to buy them since you can eat the skin (yay for not cutting my fingers off!) and they’re easier to cut than other squashes.  The flavor is similar to butternut and the skin texture is similar to a thick summer squash.  You can use chicken breasts or tenders in this instead of chicken thighs but they will definitely be drier than chicken thighs.  Thighs have more fat in them (but it’s not necessarily a bad thing – they’re higher in omega 3s than lean chicken) and it keeps them tender through even long cooking time.

And as with many of the recipes you will find on this blog – don’t feel like you have to stick to the ingredient list exactly! Sub one squash for another, if you don’t have fennel, try something flavorful or crunchy like celeriac or jicama (or whatever else you like). Veggies are our friends and if you are willing to experiment you may find a new love!

Makes 4 Servings

1.5 lbs organic boneless skinless chicken thighs (4-6 thighs)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 small delicata squash, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed, sliced in 1 inch half moons
1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 medium beet, peeled, chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1 fennel bulb, fronds removed, sliced into 1 inch chunks
1 bell pepper, sliced into large chunks (let’s say 8-10 pieces)
6-8 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 an onion, peeled
1 – 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
sea salt and black pepper

Put it on a big sheet pan.  It's ok if they're a little crowded!

Put it on a big sheet pan. It’s ok if they’re a little crowded!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prep all your vegetables (tip: save the fennel fronds and freeze to add to homemade broth later!) and lay them on a cookie sheet with the chicken thighs.  No need to trim the fat if organic (unless they are overly fatty or not organic).  The fat will add a lot of flavor to this dish.  Pour the melted coconut oil over the vegetables and chicken and quickly toss with your hands to coat.  Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 45 – 50 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. It’s like a bowl of warm, earthy fall goodness!

Serve with a side of cooked or raw greens!

Yummy fall dinner!

Yummy fall dinner!

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

So good, you'll want to make more than one at a time!

So good, you’ll want to make more than one at a time!

I know pumpkin season is winding down so I’m a little late with this (but hey, girl has been busy).  Sometimes you want something that tastes like it’s bad for you, but isn’t.  This smoothie will hit that spot. The best part is that it’s dairy free, gluten free and there’s no added sugar or chemicals in it.

For once, I resisted the urge to put 10 cups of vegetables in my blender to make a nutritious snack.  It was difficult. I found my hand reaching for the refrigerator door to grab some greens! But I resisted! Sometimes I forget that there are foods that are good for you that aren’t vegetables. Haha.

This smoothie is absolutely delicious! And you can enjoy it guilt free.  No pumpkin flavored bullcrap chemicals – we’re using real pumpkin here so you can get a huge dose of vitamin A and fiber.  Real spices (did you know that cloves have one of the highest polyphenol content of any food or spice?  Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant) and fresh ginger (great for belly discomfort and a potent anti-inflammatory). The only sweetener in it is banana.  It’s a decent source of potassium and iron too!

I like to drink it warm but it’s delicious cold too!

Makes 1 (about 12 oz) serving

1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree
1/4 cup organic coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 banana
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 inch chunk of fresh ginger root
optional: 1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
optional: sprinkle of sea salt

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined.  You can drink this smoothie cold or hot.  I like to let the blender run for another minute or two until the smoothie is warm.  There’s only a few grams of protein in this one, so feel free to add a few more tbsp of pumpkin seeds to give this more staying power (make it a meal).  You also can omit the seeds entirely if you don’t like them or don’t have any on hand – it will still taste fine without them.

Serve immediately or someone else will drink it on you.

12 Day Natural Detox Program Launch

LOGO The-New-12-day-detox-w-white-trimWhat would you say if I told you I’ve lost 35 pounds in the last 14 months without dieting, without counting calories and without stressing about how many grams of fat or carbs I’ve eaten each day? What if I told you that I never go hungry (because I eat when I’m hungry) and I enjoy every meal I eat? What if I told you my rosacea has cleared up, I have less aches and pains and my asthma is almost a distant memory? Do you want to know how I did it?  With Real Food.

I know you want to change your health too and I wanted to be able to provide you with a gentle program to get you on a similar path so I am excited to announce the launch of the 12 Day Natural Detox – a whole foods way to support your body  while it does what it already knows how to do, detox.

I honestly don’t really like the word “Detox” because it sounds like a scam.  A lot of people out there use the word to convince us that we need whatever pills, powders or energy supplements that they’re selling to clean our bodies of the junk we put in it on a daily basis and of course they guarantee weight loss with these plans too – because really who doesn’t lose weight when they’re not eating more than 500 calories a day and popping caffeine pills!? Our bodies already have a complex network of organs and processes that are constantly cleaning up after us – they do an amazing job of removing waste and toxins on their own but we can make their job easier by eating cleaner!

This 12 day plan is not a fad diet, there are no pills, no meal substitute protein shakes or gross powders to try to suck down. You will eat 100% REAL food.

lemon-waterI would like to invite you to experience the best your body can be!

Some of the benefits you may experience from 12 days on this plan are:

  • a reduction in your sugar and carb cravings
  • up to 5 pounds of weight loss
  • a noticeable increase of energy
  • clearer, more vibrant skin
  • less bloating and better digestion
  • a new appreciation for the relationship between your body and the food you eat

Purchase of this plan includes:

  • Exclusive access to Andrea’s 12-day Natural Detox Facebook community for additional resources, support and encouragement
  • An 18 page Preparation guide with everything you need to know to prepare for the 12 Days
  • A 22 page Getting Ready Activities Workbook to plan your path to success on this program
  •  A helpful list of what you can and can’t eat on this program. This plan is gluten free, processed food free, able to be used by vegans, vegetarians & those who eat animal foods all at the same time – It is customizable no matter what your current way of eating!
  • Meal ideas to show you the variety & satisfaction that can come with eating this way
  • Almost 40 pages of delicious & nutritious recipes to support you (and I plan to add more!)
  • An eloquent, day-by-day approach that will keep you on track, through the excitement and challenges of your daily program
  • Daily visualization videos to help you focus and create an intention for a healthier way of life
  • Daily email support
  • A daily educational module and activity document to enhance the experience and keep you motivated
  • Lifetime access to your program so you can repeat as often as you like (be sure to SAVEthe documents to your computer)
  • And a 30 minute post detox strategy session with Andrea!

Everything you consume during your 12-day Natural Detox, is designed to give your body the best, most compact sources of nutrition. If you’re trying to lose weight, this is the perfect plan for getting started because along with providing your body with high quality nutrition, you are also teaching yourself how to rely on real food (which is key for long term weight loss success and health).

The real benefit to this system is seeing how good you feel eating wholesome and nutritious foods, not chemicals or processed foods.  You just might want to eat this way forever (and you can)!

You’ll also learn:

  • How to set reachable goals
  • Self-care tips and tools
  • Healthy grocery shopping tips
  • and so much more!

This is an incredible package that is valued at over $300 but because it’s almost the holidays and this time of the year both waistbands and money can get tight I am doing something that most would call crazy.  I’m offering this program for just $47 for December 1st and December 13th. At this reasonable & affordable price, I’m hoping you will say YES to you and no to feeling like crap!  Register today and get on the road to healthy! Your body will thank you for it!

Just $47!buy-button

One of the great things about these plans is I have them set up so that both start after thanksgiving and finish before Christmas – so you can enjoy holiday foods guilt free that may not be on the Detox plan.

There are two Options:

12 Day Natural Detox December 1st Start Date (Must sign up by Nov 24th)
Limited time offer just $47  (Prep Nov 24 – Nov 30, Detox Dec 1 – Dec 12)

12 Day Natural Detox December 13th Start Date (Must sign up by Dec 6th)
Limited time offer $47 (Prep Dec 6 – Dec 12, Detox Dec 13 – Dec 24)

Register here.  After you confirm your subscription, you will receive an email from me with instructions on how to pay for your detox plan.  As long as you have paid for your program, you will receive your program documents one week before your chosen start date.  I’m so excited to see what this can do for you!

I will be running the program again in January and February BUT the price will be increasing for both those months! This is the lowest price you will ever see for this program.  How much is your health worth?  Join me!


Warm Spinach Salad with Mushrooms, Bacon and Cider Honey Dressing

Bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon!

Bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon!

Who said you can’t eat salads in colder weather? This warm spinach salad is exactly what you need to eat when you want to eat a salad but it’s also cold enough to put the heat on.

Back in the day when I was a bar hopping mad woman living in Portsmouth, my friends and I spent most Sunday’s at Molly Malones for several hours of brunch and cocktails. They had this great warm spinach salad with hard boiled eggs and mushrooms and at the time (many years ago), I had never had anything like it.  A warm salad? That’s crazy talk! Well, since then, I’ve seen and had many versions of that same salad at other restaurants and often make it at home.  It’s so delicious you forget that you’re eating a salad! I’m sure there are hundreds of versions of this salad on the internet but this is how I do it when I’m in the mood for a salad from a restaurant that no longer exists.  So good and super filling! This is a salad that will keep you going and it’s an awesome way to sneak in veggies for people who don’t like them (because bacon)!

Makes 4 servings

7 to 9 oz container of Organic Baby Spinach
4 Hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
16 oz white button or portobello mushrooms, sliced
8 oz Nitrite Free Bacon (organic if you can get it), cooked & chopped
1 large vidalia or red onion, cut in half, then sliced thinly
1 tbsp coconut oil, pastured butter or olive oil
optional: 1 bunch lightly steamed broccoli (I like to toss in extra veggies!)

3 tbsp honey
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 large shallot, finely minced (or 2 tbsp of onion)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
(you can add  thickener like corn starch at the end of the cooking process if you want but it’s unnecessary – if concerned about gluten free eating, double check the brand you use.)

Cook your mushrooms and sliced onions in a tbsp of coconut oil or butter until onions are soft and mushrooms browned.  Season them with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the mushrooms and onions from the pan and make the dressing by adding the minced shallot, honey and cider vinegar to the same pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is soft and some of the liquid reduces, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour the mixture (carefully) into a small bowl and whisk in the dijon mustard until well blended, then whisk in the olive oil slowly until everything is well combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the spinach, mushrooms, onions, broccoli if using, hard boiled eggs, and bacon among 4 plates.  Top with a little of the warm dressing and serve immediately (then wish you had made enough for seconds!).
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No Bean Turkey & Kuri Squash Chili

Looks kinda gross but tastes good!

Looks kinda gross but tastes good!

Chili. I love it, don’t you? Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t love beans and he can’t tolerate really spicy food anymore so I don’t make it too often these days. But I do often modify old favorites into something we both can enjoy. I also love to cook using whatever I just happen to have on hand (which is something you just have to get used to when you take part in a CSA).  I don’t want to have to run to the store for a single ingredient or two (have I told you how we’re a good 20 minutes from the nearest full service grocery store?) so being comfortable with substituting ingredients is really important.

Last week I desperately wanted a warm bowl of chili but I didn’t have bell peppers, corn, cilantro or anything else chili like on hand, but I did have kale, kuri squash (which I’ve never had before) and parsnips so I decided to roll with it and make a chili anyhow.  It worked! The texture of the squash and parsnips blended in really well with the turkey (a great fill in for my bean cravings) and the kale was completely unnoticeable texture-wise. Using squash, kale and parsnips also gave this chili a nice earthy flavor that I think is a nice change from most chilis.

Red Kuri squash - it's thin skinned (edible actually) and to me tastes like a cross between butternut and kabocha. Buttery texture!

Red Kuri squash – it’s thin skinned (edible actually) and to me tastes like a cross between butternut and kabocha. Buttery texture!

This doesn’t really need to be topped with anything – I think it’s flavorful enough to stand on it’s own but if you enjoy topping chili with other things then I think sliced avocado, sliced scallions and my dairy free sour cream would work awesomely.  Feel free to swap out the ground turkey for ground beef or beans or whatever other protein you like.

Don’t let the need for specific recipes hold you back from experimenting in the kitchen.  If you have a couple of techniques down, you can experiment confidently.  Use your intuition. If you have a palate and preferences, you’ll know what you will like.  Cooking healthy on a regular basis becomes a lot easier when you release some of the rules that complicate our lives.  And if something doesn’t turn out so tasty? So what? It’s just one meal.  On to the next!

Makes 4 servings.

20 oz ground turkey
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
3 parsnips, peeled and sliced
3 cups of sliced kale
1 kuri squash*  (see note below about prep)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
2 15 oz cans organic fire roasted diced tomatoes
sea salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or 1 tbsp diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

Heat a 4 qt sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil.  When the pan is hot, add the ground turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is no longer pink.  Add in the diced onion and cook for 5 minutes.  Add in the parsnips, kale, chopped squash, cumin, chili powder, cacao powder, oregano, garlic powder and fire roasted diced tomatoes (and cayenne or chipotle in adobo if using).  Bring to a low simmer and cook for 25 to 30 minutes (covered) or until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally.  Season with sea salt and pepper and adjust seasoning if needed.

Serve as is or top with avocado, cilantro & scallions.

*Note: You have two options for preparing the kuri squash for this recipe.  My personal preference is #2 as (I’ve said this before on this blog) I don’t like cutting into really hard squash.  I’m rather accident prone and I just know I’ll lose a finger one of these days if I try! #2 obviously takes a little longer than #1 so just keep that in mind.

1) Cut in half, scoop out the seeds/membrane and then chop the flesh into 1 inch chunks (you can keep the skin on – it’s edible).

2) Roast the entire squash in a 350 degree oven until soft enough to cut in half easily, about 30 minutes.  Let cool briefly, cut in half, peel, scoop out seeds/membrane and then chop into 1 inch chunks.