Posted on January 17, 2013
As everyone knows, it is flu season. Many will go the traditional route and get a flu shot which is fine if that is what you prefer but I believe in the healing power of good food so I bucked the norm and chose not to get a flu shot for anyone in my family.
You see I believe that in our day and age we come into all sorts of toxins: in the air from cars, pesticides and factories; in our home from cleaning products, beauty products, unfiltered water; and directly in our bodies through what we choose to put into it: medicine, alcohol, tobacco, processed food. Everyone knows that tobacco is bad for you and alcohol should be moderate but in our culture, we tend not to think about the other two: medicine and processed food.
When it comes to medicine, I believe there is a time and place for it. When you cannot solve a medical condition through natural means then medicine is necessary. It shouldn’t be an automatic choice, in my opinion, but a last resort.
But it is processed food that I think is the real mystery for most people. We all know we need to eat better and we all say we try but for many the excuse is time. We simply don’t have the time to cook fresh all the time so we don’t. For me it takes time regardless, it is just that if you eat processed, the time comes in the form of increased susceptibility to sickness or worse, a serious health issue. Therefore, it takes a little more time each day to prepare fresh food for you and your family but, as I have written about before, if you get organized and keep the meals simple it is not too bad and it will save you time in the long run.
So for this flu season, I practiced what I preach and did not resort to medicine and just relied on healthy food to get us through it. Did we get the flu? My youngest did, she’s 6, and she had a fever for 3 days. I let the fever run its course, monitoring it but not giving her medicine, and fed her this soup listed below. My son also got a fever but never got the flu (we had them both tested to be sure). I only got a scratchy throat and Karan got the sniffles. All in all, the virus didn’t get us, at least not very hard, and that is testament to the power of healthful, pure, food eaten daily.
So while you are trying to figure out how to cook more, here ia a recipe for a thin, vegetarian soup that will help you get through flu season. It is power packed with nutrition.
- ½ c minced celery
- ½ c minced shallots or green onions
- ¼ c red lentils
- 1 c cubed butternut squash (1/4″ cubes)
- 1 medium tomato chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 1 tbsp turmeric minced (may substitute powder if fresh is unavailable but won’t have the same effect)
- 2 tbsp white miso
- 6 cups vegetable broth (you can save stock from cooking vegetables)
- 1 tsp ghee or olive oil
- cilantro for garnish
- soak lentils in warm water for 1 hour, drain
- in a ceramic pot or big soup pot, add the ghee or oil, saute the onions until glassy then add the celery, then the squash, the turmeric and ginger, spacing each out a minute or two to cook down.
- add the tomatoes and cook until the skins start to break down.
- add the red lentils and the stock. cook until lentils are soft on medium-low heat, about 1 hour.
- add miso and mix well, reduce heat to low, cook another 5 minutes and serve with cilantro as a garnish
We all ate this soup during this flu season and I can attest to its healing power!
Posted on October 11, 2012
- 4 medium tomatoes chopped (approximately 5 cups)
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 leek sliced thin (white and pale green parts only) or 4 scallions
- 1 tbsp white miso (available at most asian markets)
- ½ tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 2 tsp ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil
- fresh ground pepper and a dash of hot sauce to garnish
- Heat the oil in a ceramic covered cast-iron pot (works best) or other stewpot
- Add salt and tumeric
- Saute the leek or scallions until transparent
- Add the tomatoes and cook down for 10-15 minutes on medium-high heat
- add butternut squash, miso and 6 cups water (chicken stock is optional but not necessary if the ingredients are fresh)
- Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook down for one hour
- Using an immersion blender or in batches with a regular blender, blend until smooth. If you are a purist, pass through a strainer and return to pot.
- Add the can of milk, turn off heat and stir.
Posted on February 11, 2012
Above: The finished omelet shown here with a whole wheat english muffin and a dollop of mint chutney.
As much as I love to cook and am knowledgeable about food, it still seems like it is a constant struggle to eat as healthy as possible while getting enough protein. The best way to do this is with a recipe that achieves this while tasting great.
Almost everyone knows how healthy an egg white omelet is but as for taste it’s not so good. In the past I have scrambled a whole egg with an extra white but I have noticed that I am often not getting enough protein. So I came up with this recipe and I find that not only does it taste good but I actually love it. It feels like a comfort food and that is the way healthy food should feel.
- 3-4 liquid egg whites
- 1″ cube of feta cheese (use the regular kind, not low fat which has NO taste)
- ½ cup cilantro leaves (not chopped)
- ½ tsp curry
- ½ tsp sweet paprika
- dash of cayenne
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp ground corriander
- salt & pepper to taste
- olive oil spray
- beat eggs in bowl with spices
- spray a non-stick pan with olive olive and heat on medium
- when hot pour in egg mixture
- after a couple of minutes, when the bottom of the omelet is cooked, crumble the feta and sprinkle the cilantro on half of the omelet
- cook more and then fold over, cooking both sides evenly
Posted on February 5, 2012
This is a great recipe for using dried peas and the taste is light and fresh. I adapted this from a book of Indian recipes.
- 1 cup dried whole green peas
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- ½ cup fresh chopped mint
- Juice of one lemon (approx ¼ – ⅓ cup)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- Croutons tossed with parmesan cheese
- Soak peas for 8 hours, drain water completely and then cover with water again (approximately 4 cups)
- Bring peas to a boil (don’t add any salt) and cook until tender
- Add spinach, salt & pepper, and lemon juice
- Blend mixture with an immersion blender or blend in batches in a standing blender
- If the soup is too thick, add more water and bring to temperature
- Add frozen peas and mint; turn off and stir.
- Serve with croutons
Posted on January 26, 2012
Above: Buttery Macaroni & Cheese served with pureed butternut squash, braised kale and fresh tomato
- 1 box of macaroni
- 1 cup cubed butternut squash, peeled and de-seeded
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- ½ cup lowfat buttermilk
- 1 cup lowfat milk
- ½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup crumbled farmers cheese like Queso Fresco
- 1 tsp pureed horseradish
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- dash of hot sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup panko
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp olive oil
- In a saucepan, boil the onion, butternut squash and pinch of salt with enough water to cover it
- When squash is soft, drain the water into a separate bowl and set aside
- In a blender, add the cooked squash and onion with all the rest of the ingredients for the sauce
- Blend well — sauce should look like melted Velveeta
- In cooking pot, pour in the water saved from the squash plus enough extra for the macaroni and a another dash of salt.
- When water is boiling, add macaroni and cook until nearly tender, just underdone.
- Drain water and pour macaroni into a lasagna pan. Pour cheese sauce over the macaroni and mix well.
- Crumble topping over macaroni and bake in a 400º oven until bubbly and topping is browned (about 15 minutes)
One of my favorite comfort foods is macaroni and cheese and I was determined to find a recipe that was both delicious and cut down on the fat. This is my all time favorite — buttery taste but if you can believe it: no butter! The key: butternut squash in the cheese sauce.