Cake Pops

After enjoying some, I set aside the rest to indulge on my birthday the next day. My 8 1/2-year-old PoPPed them all into his mouth, and I was barely able to rescue one for myself. Laughing and crying. Here’s the simplest sugar-free version I came up with.

CakePoPsFinal
6 oz. coconut flour
6 oz. gluten-free oat flour
touch of sea salt
1/2 t stevia powder

2 large mashed organic bananas
3/4 t rice bran oil or oil of choice (ghee works well if you do dairy)

chocolate almond butter
lollipop sticks

50 minutes
245 degrees

I ground the oats in the blender. Mix the dry and wet ingredients separately (holding off on the almond butter) before combining to get the dough texture of soft ice cream. Shape into 1-inch balls about the width of a U.S. quarter and place them on parchment paper. I baked on low to preserve nutrients. They were nice and sweet. When they’re five, ten minutes out of the oven and moist, you can insert the sticks and gently frost them with the almond butter using a spoon. This is the butter I used. Using a little more oats than coconut flour will help glue the sticks into the cake, though the 1:1 ratio is fine. Yields 20 pops.

NewBitten

Roast Curried Potato

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Oh, this is such easy and yummy finger food; a great side, snack, or potluck dish. Roasting contracts energy (as opposed to expanding in steam) and is suitable in the colder seasons as it helps warm us. Red and gold potatoes take almost double as long as the American staple Russet but I like to diversify our food for broader nutrition. For every pound, coat the washed and quartered potatoes with curry powder from the store or your own mix:

Coriander 1 T
Cumin 1 T
Turmeric 1 t
Cinnamon 1/2 t or Nutmeg 1/4 t
Mustard 1/4 t
Marjoram or Thyme 1/4 t
Sea salt 1/4 t
Rice bran oil or oil of choice 2 T
Optional garnish of chopped green onion just before serving

Preheat oven while preparing potatoes and spices. Be sure to scrub skin well and leave on for the nutrients. Coriander’s my favorite, brings all foods alive. Adjust the ratio of spices to taste. If not overdone, they stimulate the liver and are wonderful for their anticarcinogenic properties. I like to cook longer on low for maximal nutrition. Russet, small and thin, will roast beautifully at 375 degrees in 20 minutes. Whatever kind I cook, I check with a fork after 30 minutes at 300 degrees and flip before finishing.

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes

Easy and delish, I wonder that I can post something so simple. The purple sweet potato hails from Asia and in the States, can be found organic in health food markets. The conventional is sprayed – even out of Asia. This sweet potato is exceptionally sweet and tastes like candy bread. Steaming will make it moist and soft. In cooler season, roasting helps draw heat energy into the body.

ppotatesmainBuy produce as heavy and unblemished as possible. The heavier the raw fruit or vegetable, the fresher with more moisture. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Scrub sweet potato well with fingers or brush and cut off any obvious sore spots, keeping as much of the nutrient-rich skin intact. You can roast whole but because my son enjoys it as user-friendly finger food (and to shave cooking time), I slice it about 1/4″ thick. Lay out the circles on parchment paper, sprinkle with some quality sea salt. I use celtic gray. You can have fun here and try some spices. Brush with quality butter or ghee if you do dairy, or oil with a high smoke point. But I wanted to show you the no-frills in-a-hurry version with not even butter or oil. Lay the parchment on a metal tray or aluminum foil (with the shiny side touching the oven rack, as the shine is chemical P1050867coating). Roast 20 minutes, flipping halfway with tongs or fork though that’s not necessary. That’s it! When time allows, I go a little longer at about 300 degrees and watch for burns. Lower and slower are better for food in general with greater retention of nutrients.

This potato is wonderful travel food, so filling. I pop the pieces hot right into a thermos before leaving home and so serve them very warm with nuts, chlorella, or kale chips – or often, alone. As a complex carbohydrate, sweet potato will satisfy hunger longer and more healthily than regular potato. Yes, ironically full with nature’s own sugar. It’s hard to enjoy other varieties once you’ve had the purple.

Sinus Mineral Tea

Try this tea if you ever need to unclog your nose or soothe your sinuses. It will speak of the power of food for all time. It also replenishes minerals when you’re dehydrated, and strengthens joints and bones. You can use it as broth as well.

1 carrot stick
2 celery sticks (organic because conventional is sprayed)
3, 4 cloves garlic
3-4 cups water

Bring to boil with vegetables whole or cut, and simmer 20 minutes. You can add a dash of sea salt halfway, especially in the summer, but it’s not necessary. The sodium from the veggies is just what the body needs and wants to assimilate. I can’t PR the minerals and silicon from the celery enough, a food that according to Traditional Chinese Medicine dries dampness. Vegetables that are tough and erect offer us those very attributes – they build strong bones. The vitamins A & C from the carrot help remedy upper respiratory issues. The antimicrobial properties of garlic are well known. When I have kale on hand, I chop the leaves into food and add the stalks to the tea. When I gave my son less than a cupful once, he asked for more. A friend with a bad cold who could not breathe or taste her food found her nose suddenly working when she drank this. You need to keep it up, though. No instant fix in pill or drink. I enjoy this between meals and scoop the vegetables out to add to food.

SinusTea

Asian Kale Chips

OliveKaleDEHYDRATOR VERSION

Kale and I first met through Francesca.  My dear old friend introduced me to this superveggie on one of her visits out to California.  Fast-forward about seven years and my new friend Tonya shares a generous amount of her kale chips with my family.  Crisped kale?  Tennyson, then two, devoured them.  A new world of drying foods opened to me.  I went on to play with recipes, and Tonya and her family loved my simplified Asian version of her chips.  If I were allowed to dry only one vegetable before exile to an island, it would be the king of greens, my kale.  The red, also called purple, is less stiff than the green and smells like roses.  You can dehydrate all kale, including the green lacinato.

These guys taste way better than they look.  Dittoes Jon.  The variations are endless.  Even the basic with just olive oil and sea salt are happily addictive.  The chips stand alone as a snack or can complement a meal.  Those who don’t dehydrate bake them too high.  Despite the license given by The Food Network and almost every cookbook out there, I try to heat oils at or under 250 degrees – which means longer oven time – because they go rancid when too hot.  Sometimes I take more liberty with rice bran oil that has a smoke point of 450.  Oils that are heated lend themselves readily to cholesterol production so I reserve them until the end just before serving, when possible.  Those who do dehydrate the chips, many raw foodists, usually don’t bake them at all and end up not killing unwanted invisible critters like parasites.

I clean the kale well in a vinegar soak at least 30 minutes.  Soaking is my secret to thorough vegetable cleaning, as opposed to just running them under water.  The bath dislodges sediments well.  This batch of scrubbed, rinsed kale was jam-packed into two large bowls 7.5″ wide, 3.5″ deep. If you don’t have a ruler on hand — each was wide enough to fit my face.

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Sesame oil (optional)
Vinegar 1 T (be careful w/ any liquid seasoning.  You don’t want the kale too wet because your aim is to dry it up, and soggy leaves will be hard to crisp).
Sorghum (or maple) syrup, 1 heaping T
Miso, 1/2 T
1 head of kale

I don’t strip all the stems out, just break off the end part that runs past the leaves.  Eating the stalk with the leaves makes for better balance in the body. A macrobiotic practice, and one espoused by Paul Pitchford of Healing With Whole Foods.

Sometimes I replace the oil with 1 T almond butter.  In its thickness, it gels and coats the marinade so nicely over the kale. Adjust sweetener and salt to taste, but because syrup and miso are so concentrated you want to watch intake.  I use just enough for a little zip to the palate.  Miso should be organic.  Soybeans are among the most genetically modified crop in the U.S.

Mix the sauce up, and divide and pour into the bowls.  Divvy up the leaves with the help of another bowl if they fall out in the coating.  Transfer kale onto oven trays or first onto parchment paper.

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230 degrees in oven, 45 minutes
Flip w/ tongs halfway
115 degrees in dehydrator, 3 hours or until the wilt is crisped away, depending on size of leaves and how wet they were.

When the leaves starts browning in the oven, they’re cooking.  Flip them, being careful not to let them burn.  You want to cook them just enough to kill microbes and seep in the flavor.  It is the dehydrator that will drain, even crystallize the sauce.

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OVEN-ONLY VERSION

You must put the leaves in the oven as dry as possible, avoiding flavorings like watery vinegar because it’ll sop up the leaves too much for the oven to dry them fully before scorching.  Pat and squeeze kale firmly with a clean towel.  Coat lightly with oil to help stave off premature browning and burning.  Can mix the oil first with some syrup or just a spritz of lemon.

Mediterranean
Coriander powder, 1/3 teaspoon or to taste
Oregano, 1/3 teaspoon or to taste
Fine sea salt, 1/3 teaspoon
Extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon

Coriander, my favorite spice, improves and fills out the flavor of just about anything.  It minimizes the need for salt.

Asian
Sesame oil instead of olive, and skip the oregano.
Flip every 30 minutes and rotate trays because the back of the oven is hotter than the front. Bake about one hour and 15 minutes, depending on your oven, and watch for the browning.
Enjoy!

Prologue

HOLISTICPEDIA  FOOD: Nourishment. Sustenance. Power. Medicine. Pleasure.
 
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1.9

I almost feel shy.  How long has food been around?  The dozen years I’ve been studying holistic nutrition are swallowed up by timeworn wisdom.  Of grandmothers who labored in love in the garden and kitchen before we let machines mass-assemble our meals, of indigenous cultures that have known what foods serve their makeup, of the friends and teachers in the vanguard of my journey who have taught me so much.  Meaning, nothing I say is new and neither is any recipe out there.  But I’ve learned much since my nutritionally unconscious days; there must be a place for what my kitchen offers…[continued]

Mapo Tofu

Originally a dish from the Szechuan province of China, tofu in a spicy chili bean sauce with meat and vegetables. Omit the meat to make it vegan or vegetarian.

Guests love this one (are probably relieved to find something looking normal on their plate in my home).  This version of Mapo Tofu is simpler than any from a restaurant, minus the trappings of sugar and MSG.  Serve over rice.

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Tofu 1 pack, 14 oz
Organic ground beef 1 lb
Vegetables of choice
Chopped onion ½ c (¾ c okay, onion lovers)
Garlic and ginger nice (Have omitted when short on time)
Sesame oil 1 ½ T optional just before serving

Sauce
Tomato paste, the secret to the kick in the dish. One 6 oz. can.
Organic miso 1 T
Hot red pepper paste 1/3 T
Organic tamari 1 T
Sea salt ½ t
Grain syrup or raw honey 1 T
Rice wine 1 T optional

4 servings

Brown the ground beef in a skillet or pot.  I use a deep skillet that works like a shallow pot.  Ground turkey is a fine alternative.  Add onion.  When the beef’s about halfway done, break up and flip, and add the tofu pieces cubed about 1/2”.

The sauce makes sense.  Tart, salty, spicy, and a bit sweet to pull those other flavors away from their extreme.  Prepare the sauce and stir into the tofu and meat so that they absorb it.  Adjust taste as desired. Add a spoonful or two of water if it looks like it could use it.  Toss in the garlic and ginger.

Texture Variation
Kuzu 2 T
Cool water 2 T

If you’d like to jell the sauce as it’s done at restaurants, add the kuzu mixture now and a little more water toward the end.  The sauce will thicken. It’s a fun touch but guests and husband have enjoyed the meal plenty without it.  Since rice accompanies the Mapo and there are more ingredients that I normally use in a sitting, I skip the kuzu starch for better digestion.  The final 5-7 min toss in the veggies.  Capitalize on the rich, appetizing dish this is and tuck in a lot of vegetables or ones you don’t eat regularly. I’ve used fennel and zucchini, this particular evening 12 white mushrooms and ½ cup radicchio with some chopped kale.  The red tofu just begs countercolors like green and white.  To balance the soft, round ones that cooked into the dish, I served on the side asparagus and green beans to provide length and crunch.

The dish adjusts its own chemistry.  The tomato helps break down the meat and increases iron absorption.  The tofu is a good cooling counterpart protein to the beef that is warming, both of which the vegetables harmonize.  The sweetness rounds out the zip while keeping in check the saltiness.

How to Cook Beans

Soak 12 hours or overnight with about triple the amount of water to cover beans as they expand. Prepare less than you think you want because they bulk up.

1. Boil with extra water, at least double the amount of beans.
2. Half-lid the pot and turn up heat but keep on your toes to catch the boiling.
3. After about 15 minutes, pour out or skim off the froth, the GAS you don’t want to be blowing out.

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4. Replenish water with about double the amt of beans.
5. Recover boil, add a small strip of kombu to balance the proteins and oils in the legumes and make them more digestible. Simmer another hour or until beans are soft.
6, Add acidic foods like vinegar, lemon, or tomato and the sea salt the last 10 min or the beans won’t soften.
7. Spices like cumin, coriander, dill, turmeric, dried ginger go well with beans and make them tasty.

With beans, you’ll want to back off before you feel full. The happy satiety will come a bit after your last bite and keep you a good long while.

Children under 18 months have difficulty digesting most legumes.

Sweet & Spicy Red Bean Stew

tumblr_miwzm8dMwt1s6qk5ko1_1280I was craving sweet kidney beans. Cozied up this blustery day, Tennyson and I licked our lunch bowls clean. Shaped like their beneficiaries, these beans are good for — you guessed it — the kidneys. The designs of God! Among the many reasons we want to be kind to our kidneys is their upkeep of our reproductive system. This hearty dish welcomes a variety of veggies. Fennel or zucchini would’ve been great.

Soaked beans, 1/2-3/4 cup
Crimini mushroom
Garlic
White onion, 4 ringed slices
Chopped celery, 2 stalks
Olives optional or touch of oil
Small strip of Kombu

Cinnamon 1/2 tsp
Cumin up to 1 tsp
Sorghum syrup or sweetener of choice, 2 T or to taste
Red pepper paste 1/4 teaspoon optional
Sea Salt to taste, up to 1 tsp

Serves 2

Once you’ve added the kombu and/or are resimmering (per How To Cook Beans post), add the garlic, onion, and spices to get the flavor going. Best to add veggies toward the end so they don’t overcook and retain the enzymes and vitamins, but I felt like infusing the celery minerals into the soup this time and so tossed in the celery early. After about an hour, add the other vegetables, salt, pepper paste, and syrup. I procured pure red pepper paste in glass without the trappings of msg and sugar from H Mart, a Korean market. Stir and cook another few minutes. Add olives before serving. Their oil, or a quality oil, combines well with beans.

Variation

2 heaping T rice syrup
A little under 1 T tomato paste
Coriander spice makes everything delish

Rice syrup is a mild sweetener so you’ll need a little more. Sorghum is a grain, an important crop of Africa and South Asia. The syrup or molasses is sold at health food markets along with the rice syrup. Celery is one of my superfood secrets for delicious soup and broth. Some folks aren’t crazy about it raw, but the taste mellows when cooked while the sodium it gives up into the juices is the wonderful kind the body begs. And few veggies beat the silicon content that helps you absorb calcium and strengthens your bones.