recipes


Posted by karen
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I'm looking out my office window to a most welcome view: a river without ice, green grass rather than a mini-mountain of snow, cheery daffodils worshiping the sun after a long season under a thick white blanket! I LOVE IT!

 

Chocolate is a good addition to a day of sunshine and flowers - especially this not-so-sweet gluten-free brownie recipe.

Click for recipe for Sweet Potato Brownies.

May you too be blessed with hope and health and happiness.

P.S. Let me know how you like the brownies!

Posted by karen
karen's picture

As a holistic nutritional consultant, healthy food solutions for wellness are pretty much right at the top of the list - of course, along with other lifestyle habits like getting enough sleep, exercise, drinking water and more. In spite of diligent efforts for health, however, we injure ourselves; have sore muscles, headaches and indigestion; plus a host of other afflictions that can show up from living in an imperfect world. Our medical system (believe me, I am so thankful for the privileged country I live in with access to modern medicine) offers help in many ways, very often in a chemical form which can be effective but also carries side effects.

Thus my love for essential oils. 

My introduction to essential oils was drinking peppermint tea, cooking with dried and ground herbs, and using oil of oregano and melaleuca (a.k.a.tea tree oil). However, with my growing inventory of quality essential oils I am learning about, and experiencing, wellness benefits like sleeping better and thinking clearer - and thankful for these natural, aromatic healing tools.

Essential oils include a myriad of plant seasonings and health enhancers with specific properties that I couldn't begin to cover here but I have included some things that have worked for me and others.

Cypress -  good for relaxing tight neck muscles, as well as a blend called Deep Blue.

Rosemary - worked well for sore achilles tendon after running two consecutive days.

Frankincense - I use this for so many things (its effectiveness makes up for its expense!); one of my favourite uses is for calmness and 'feel good' properties. My husband thinks it's a great after-shave - I agree - nothing but the best for this guy. Also, this oil is particularly interesting historically

Melaleuca has been a wonderful help for a condition my husband gets every winter: itchy, red swelling between the toes, irritating to no end. Putting a few drops of Melaleuca on these areas worked great for Derryl this winter. Melalueca, mixed along with another great healing oil, lavender, recently came to the rescue again for my husband: again in his toes! This time it was to treat a burn when a small slice of hot metal fell off our decrepit barbeuce and landed right between two toes, immediately creating a blister. With very little air getting at it to heal, especially covered with socks and workshoes all day, this was getting to be a 'real pain' - we finally clued in and gave the melaleuca and lavender combo a try. Healed up nicely. (Another benefit of this: we now have a new barbecue that isn't spewing bits of itself on unsuspecting victims.)

Adult emergency department using essential oils to reduce workplace stress.

Owie Spray: the Power of Essential Oils - some pretty amazing pictures of healing. 

A Winter Blues Buster - for your diffuser

4 drops wild orange

3 drops lavender

2 drops Frankincense

Add to 70-80 ml water and use in diffuser. This is a great combination to use in the evening to help experience a good night's sleep.

 

AromaTouch Technique 

Aromatherapy includes different applications - aromatically, topically, internally. A topical technique has been designed by doTERRA - after which personally experiencing, i.e. so relaxing and stress-reducing - I have learned how to do myself, so I could add this hands-on benefit to my holistic nutrition business. Unfortunately this can not be applied online.

 

I hope this information has been helpful for you. I am not an expert in essential oils - just learning and experimenting what works for me and learning from others. If you are also on this natural medicine route, let me know what works for you.

Disclaimer. I use doTERRA oils so am most familiar with this company, but I am not proposing to push this brand on you. However, for the healthiest results, I recommend you choose certified pure, therapeutic-grade oils that do not use rapid processing or chemical intervention of any kind. Again, I am not a doctor and my comments in this blog and on my site are not to be taken as medical advice - they are simply what has worked for other people or myself. 

Posted by karen
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What is a cleanse? Think: house cleaning time for your body.

If your daily home routine is stuffing scattered socks and what-nots out of sight in a drawer, sweeping the kitchen and making a pass under the table, wiping out the bathroom sink with a soiled washcloth at the end of the day - I'd guess a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday the vacuum is roaring, laundry is getting caught up and the toilet brush is in action.

This home(l)y example is a partial and simplified example of cleanse for your body. Maybe cleaning isn't on your list of favourites. I can relate. There are benefits to cleaning, besides knowing where you store your library books, that can make your body "sing"!

First some groundwork material about Cleanse.

Who should cleanse? Almost everyone.

Stick with me here. Visions of physically intense measures, dire dietary deprivation, investing big bucks for a desert spa, or scenarios based on what you're reading, watching or hearing are not the pattern for most cleanses. 

What might be reasons for you to cleanse?

It could depend on your accumulation of toxins that:
- come from without, i.e. air pollution, chemicals/cleaners/pesticides, noise, medications, etc.
- come from within, i.e. waste from bacteria and cellular metabolic function, unmanaged stress, pent-up emotions, etc.

Entering a new season:
- on the heels of dietary indulgences, i.e. holidays, cruise vactions, week-long family reunions (eating marathons?!)
- following exceptional stress, i.e. work, relationships, grief/death
- according to the calendar - spring is an ideal time for rejuvenation and renewal

Wanting to break addictions from sugar and refined grains (a smart dietary shift for a body in balance) - to allow your body to begin re-calibrating to what your body needs and wants!

( Click here for recipe: refined-sugar-free and grain-free "granola".)

Symptoms often associated with toxicity: digestive tract pain, gas, bloating, skin problems, fatigue, decreased immunity, depression/anxiety.

What might a cleanse look like for you?

Click here for Green Winter Juice recipe.

- two weeks without any fast food or any kind of processed foods 
- a weekend of juices, broth and vegetable soups 
- a two-week gentle dietary cleanse like the one I use with wellness and weight loss programs
- a more restrictive diet cleansing program
-----brown rice 
-----anti-inflammatory 
-----alkalinizing
-----elimination 
-----detoxification   

Cleansing your body on a regular basis:

- start your day with a glass of water with a Tbsp. lemon juice to activate the janitor (your liver) and drink water throughout the day - 6-10 glasses
- eat dark leafy greens in salads, smoothies or juices
- include beets, cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli), garlic in your diet
- breathe deeply - to the bottom of your lungs
- meditate, relax, journal, seek out beauty, enjoy healthy relationships, be in nature

Bottom line benefits: based on where you start and what kind of clean(s)ing you do.

- feel less bloated
- you've kick-started your way towards a healthier living regime
- feel less sluggish after going through some heavy eating
- have more energy
- more clarity in your concentration and less "brain-fog"
- you feel more in balance - hormones and blood sugar levels are happier

Will a cleanse take work?

Like all things we value, effort and planning for a cleanse are required. Perhaps link up with a friend for moral support.

Getting one-on-one coaching to walk you through the "how" and the steps of a cleanse will help significantly in setting you up for seeing results.

I would love to work with you: contact me to arrange a consultation

(P.S.For more regular updates on recipes, fitness and what Real Food Matters is offering, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter.)

Your body can fix itself if given half a chance - treat it well with some routine housecleaning.

(Credits for first and last photos to my daughter, Renee, at FIMBY.)
 

Gettin'er Done

08 Apr 2013
Posted by karen
karen's picture

Gettin'er done...

The shirt was included in my race packet (for the record, I ran the half and not the full marathon).

I did gett'er done. I expected to finish and I did.

Ten years of running a whack of races from 1K - 56K prior to that event inspired confidence; I did my usual routine by:

-- Registering.

-- Training.

-- And - to repeat myself - the expectation of crossing the finish line (upright and smiling!).

 

As a holistic nutritional consultant I love working with people who are accepting challenges to start making changes. In dietary and lifestyle habits. They may be seeking improved wellness, weight loss, increased energy, better sleep patterns, overcoming symptoms of disease - looking for long term benefits and results. 

In my work, clients express their sense of need by contacting me or making an office appointment. Like my race analogy, they "register." It's an act of commitment: "I need to change some things." 

We get started on a plan. This is where the training starts.

 

The plan will vary, but working with my In Balance health and wellness participants, it will look something like this:

-- logging food, activity, etc.

-- meeting with me once/week (in person or online) for 4-8 weeks for education and coaching on the factors to build a balanced life

-- being physically active

-- adopting a positive attitude

-- accepting the reality of consistent lifestyle and dietary changes for longterm healthy benefits (i.e change takes time!)

Change - or training - is never easy, even if/and/or when the plan is simple and straight forward. 

 

However: following through to gettin'er done will be more successful - and enjoyable - if you follow these five keys:

-- put aside perfection and "train" with your best efforts - go for excellence

-- accept your body type, your personality - not everyone "runs" at the same pace 

-- make both short and long term goals

-- grant yourself some grace and start a daily thanksgiving journal

-- expect to "finish" and align yourself with an accountability partner who believes in you too

 

It's within your power to knock down the roadblocks hindering you from getting to your finish line. You can make it - you're just not there YET.

I'd love to hear how you get to your finish line. And in the meantime, I'm going to follow through on today's "race plan" - to make a batch of my current favourite cookies: click on Sweet Potato Coco-Nut Cookies for the recipe.

Posted by karen
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Emotions.

 
Need 'em - to add spice to our lives, fleshing out the spectrum of feelings associated with living.
Love 'em - for their ethos, their passion, their need for expresssion - particularly on special occasions like February 14th!
Hate 'em - their power can be frightening, depressing, confusing.
 
Emotions can be sneaky, tricky - creating a hunger that we think can be satisfied with food.
 

Here are some tips to help us decide if our hunger is a physical or emotional one.

 
* Emotional hunger comes on in an instant - with an urgency that's overwhelming. Physical hunger doesn't usually demand, "I need food right now!" (unless you haven't eaten in a long time), it gradually sneaks up on you. 
 
* Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods, e.g. usually the refined sugars and refined grains kind - that provide an instant rush. It sends the message you NEED cheesecake or chips. Now. Physical hunger calls out, " I'm about to expire here, sure could use a spinach omelette, or a loaded salad, or chicken and stir-fry - even granola and fruit sounds good!"
 
* Emotional hunger often leads to eating a whole bag of chips or a pint of ice cream without so much as giving it a thought - and probably not really savouring it. You're usually more aware of what you're doing if you're eating in reponse to physical hunger. 
 
* Emotional hunger wants you to eat - and keep eating - often until you're uncomfortable. Stuffed. Physical hunger usually is satisfied when you are comfortably full.
 
* Emotional hunger doesn't have a growling hunger pang gnawing in your stomach. It's more tuned in to things like crunchy, salty, and other aspects of texture and smell. 
 
* Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt or shame. (Negative emotions that tend to get stuck on the "repeat" button in our brain.) Physical hunger is nutritionally satisfied..
 

At some point, we all are challenged by the temptation of using food to meet an emotional hunger.

The first step is start being aware of recognizing it as such.
 
Number two is being mentally prepared for alternative non-food solutions to meet that hunger:
** phone your grandkids or kids and treat yourself with a "visit"
** make yourself a cup of a special tea you've been saving for such a time as this
** get outside for a walk or if you work in an office building, do a short stretching session and walk the stairs to the next level
** pull out a handwork project or read a few chapters of a book (even in the middle of the day)
** go to the florist and buy yourself one Gerber daisy
** etc. etc.
 
Number three: as you gradually "read" the signs and meet the emotional hunger with ways that feed your emotions, you will be developing your will power muscle and become stronger in determining between the two kinds of hunger. 
 
We were created with emotions - and thankfully so. Embrace the discovery how you are emotionally wired.
 
Valentine's Day is this week -  a perfect day to experience and celebrate the gift of life and love. Be kind and gracious to those you love - and that includes you too. If chocolate speaks your" food love language", make this simple and delicious raw chocolate pie. Enjoy it with intention, pleasure and without guilt!
 
 
Click for recipe → Chocolate_Cream_Pie
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Posted by karen
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For the last 10 days I've been on a sugar-free, grain-free cleanse. This has also meant no natural sugars, including fresh and dried fruits. The night before I started it I had a huge fruit smoothie - does that tell you anything about my relationship with fruit?!

 

This choice was made for several reasons:

- I'm presenting an In Balance wellness and weight loss program that has a gentle dietary cleanse as part of Finding Your BALANCE, and I thought I   should experience the process to understand what I'm teaching/asking the participants to do.
 
- I've never done a cleanse for an extended period
 
- I live in a real world with real toxins so my body could use some house-cleaning
 
- I wanted to start a habit of eating more vegetables than fruit rather than the other way around
 
- I wanted to test my self control
 
- I wanted to see how it would affect me - physically, emotionally, mentally
 
- I was curious to see how my body would react without grains
 
 

I've discovered a few things:

 
- it hasn't been as difficult as I thought it might be,  (i.e. I'm not feeling continually hungry and craving foods )
 
- when my husband grinds the coffee in the morning, it doesn't bother me all that much, that instead of java I will be drinking caffeine-free, herbal tea (I've renewed my friendship with Rooibos)
 
- as much as I love nuts and seeds, I have my moments when I feel like a squirrel
 
- I miss my fruit - cranberries are on the okay list, and I'm so very grateful for Terra Beata, a local bountiful cranberry bog)
 
- I rarely go out for lunch but two times in the last week it happened. One little cafe had the best roasted veggie soup that I could have asked for. (Well, thinking on it, there was more oil in it than I would have used.) Everything in it was legit - and the roasted flavour was delic. (Probably thanks to the oil :)
 
- the preparation and planning period has value, and not only in practical terms,  (i.e. even though my pantry and refrigerator was stocked with cleanse food ingredients, the first morning it took a few minutes to shift from my almost-daily default menu - home made granola or cooked hot cereal)
 
Here's what I whipped up: sauteed leeks and red peppers, scrambled in a couple eggs and served it up on a bed of greens. Protein and veggies - yummy!
 
 

Some Conclusions:

- I have plenty of energy (even without eating grains) - I was a little concerned that my running and other fitness activities might need to be curtailed. Thankfully, not so. 
 
- I can't help but think how very blessed I am. I decided to use self control in my food choices (which meant eliminating some regulars) -  compared to the huge percentage of people who exist on the barest of nutrition and food options because they have to.
 
- will I do it again? I might. After today, I have 3 days left of my two weeks and I don't foresee why I will cave now.
 
- I fortunately had only one day of a very low-grade headache (can a habit of one- (sometimes more) - cup of coffee/day really make you that addicted?)
 
- my mental alertness and stamina has been at par if not better than normal. 
 
- I got to digging through recipes to add some variety to " how many ways can you eat broccoli, cauliflower, greens, carrots, etc." and there are many delicious options
 
- I miss eating quinoa and brown rice and sweet potatoes  
 
- would I recommend a cleanse? A variety of variables weigh in here: the type of cleanse, the reason for the cleanse, if a person has strong cravings for refined sugar and other refined foods, the timing of doing the cleanse, etc. Generally, I'd say most people would probably benefit from an occasional  cleanse.
 
- Has it been dreadful? Not at all.  I have understood the feeling of being even more intentional about what foods I eat. And it's not about denial, but understanding some of the recalibrating my body can do when I say "no" to foods that I thought, "But I always have .... for breakfast."
 
- And this week I found an acceptable substitute for granola. Yeah!! So of course I'm going to make it to the end.
 
Click → Printable recipe for Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Cleanse-Friendly Granola
 
 

Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Cleanse-Friendly Granola

1/2 cup organic unsweetened coconut flakes (could also be shredded)

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup pecan pieces

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger powder

 

Pulse ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender until desired consistency. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

To Serve:
 
Scoop 1/4 - 1/3 cup of granola into a bowl.
 
Pour 1/2 - 2/3 cup almond mik or yogurt over top and let sit for about 5 or 6 minutes.
 
Spoon fresh (or thawed) cranberries on top and enjoy!
 
Optional:
 
- sprinkle with hemp seeds for extra protein
 
- lightly toast granola before serving, using heavy stove-top skillet
 
 
 
Have you done a cleanse? I'd be interested to hear your experience and if/what you felt were the benefits.
Posted by karen
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Fermentation - Part 1 

This summer a few readers asked about fermented foods. My apologies for such a tardy response (you know who you are), and you have every right if you toast me forever as a reliable source for anything!
 
Now get to it.
 
The fermenting process is one I enjoy dabbling with: mostly yogurt and sauerkraut. This summer I tried a new experiment: lacto-fermenting veggies, using produce from my first-year fledging garden.
 
 
Credits for the instructions go to Whole Life Nutrition, a source I am grateful to for their inspiration to have fun "playing around" with different tastes, using what you have available.
 

What You Will Need:

- glass quart jar with a plastic lid
 
- salt brine - with a ratio of 1-1.5 Tbsp. sea salt to 2 cups water (filtered water is recommended - chlorine can inhibit the growth of beneficial bacteria, not to mention it's not particularly healthy for us) 
 
- chopped raw organic vegetables: e.g. cauliflower, beets, bell peppers, turnips, broccoli, onions, green beans, garlic, etc. 
 
- cabbage leaves (for the top)
 
- combination of herbs and spices: e.g. dried chili peppers, black peppercorns, bay leaf, fresh dill or tarragon
 
- salt brine using this ratio: 1 - 1.5 Tbsp. sea salt dissolved in 2 cups water
 

What to Do: 

- put your combination of vegetables into a glass jar (or a ceramic crock if you're so lucky to have one) 
 
- add a few layers of herbs and spices. Tip: if using peppercorns put them at the bottom of the jar so they don't float to the top. 
 
- leave about an inch at the top of the jar
 
- cover with the salt brine, leaving about 1/2 inch where you place a folded cabbage leaf and press into the brine. This helps keep the vegetables fully submerged with the water floating on the top.
 
- cover with a plastic lid (metal ones can become corroded by the salt and acids)
 
- screw the lid on - not too tight, to leave space for gasses to release
 
- place jars in a rectangular container to catch any drips that might happen and set in an undisturbed spot on your kitchen counter - out of direct sunlight
 
 

Wait and taste:

- after 5 days, taste your veggies to see how soured they are - you'll probably want to leave them more like 7 or 8. Fermenting takes longer in the cooler months, less time in the summer.
 
- total sitting time is according to your taste - there's no set, scientific formula when working with fermented foods
 
- once the veggies are soured, remove the cabbage leaf and store jar(s) in the refrigerator - where your fermented veggies will keep for months.
 

My version:

I made the following two combinations: each one was a 2-litre jar.
 
1 Tbsp peppercorns
beets
few garlic cloves
carrots
sprigs of fresh dill
green pepper
salt brine
 
1 Tbsp peppercorns
summer turnip
green beans
garlic cloves
tarragon leaves
salt brine
 
Each jar sat on the cupboard for 8 days. 
 
Initially I didn't care for the turnip combination: I think because the tarragon flavour over-powered the summer turnip, which has a milder flavour than the winter variety. However, after sitting in the fridge for a few weeks, I'm liking it more.
 
I still prefer the beets one the best, although I would add more garlic and some hot peppers next time.
 
Will I dabble around with this more? Definitely. I'll try different combinations, probably add more garlic, choose my herbs carefully and cut the veggies smaller - small-diced, not chunky like in the picture.
 
These lacto-fermented veggies are handy additions to a salad, or mixed with grains and greens, or whatever way suits your eating fancy.
 
And oh yes: fermented foods are healthy for your inner "ecosystem". Improve digestion, stimulate the liver, and help control sugar cravings.
 
My next fermenting schedule is making kimchi and a kraut using cabbage and other vegetables that are ground or finely sliced.
 
To be continued .... Fermentation Part 2 -  I promise.
Posted by karen
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September. The month synonymous with the return to packing lunches: specifically, school lunches and the challenges that brings.

This doesn't apply to me anymore (the school lunch part) but my husband still regularly needs a packed lunch for work so I am always on the look-out for healthy take-along lunch ideas. These little mini quiches serve equally as well for breakfast, lunch or otherwise. Quick to make too.

Click → Printable recipe for Garden Mini Crustless Quiches
 

Garden Mini Crustless Quiches

 
Ingredients:
 
3 eggs
 
2 large stalks kale (swiss chard can be substituted)
 
1/2 cup frozen peas
 
1/2 small zucchini, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
 
2 Tbsp pine nuts (yes, they're expensive, but the small amount needed here goes a long way with texture and flavour)
 
fresh herbs if available: I used about 1 Tbsp dill and 2 Tbsp basil 
 
spices of your choice: I used about 1/2 tsp each of cumin and a thyme seasoning mix called za'atar, 1/8 tsp chili powder, dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper
 
optional: 3-4 Tbsp. cheese of your choice; I used grated Parmesan 
 
Directions:
 
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
 
In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients (except for the optional cheese) and mix well.
 
Scoop out 7 - 8 equal portions into a muffin pan with lightly greased paper liner cups.
 
Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes - if using cheese, sprinkle a spoonful on top of each "muffin" for the last 4-5 minutes of cooking.
 
These are delicious and nutritious for "anytime" eating - and very transportable for take-along lunches.
 
 
I'm one of five siblings and for a few years we all caught the school bus at the road, making sure we had grabbed our lunch kits - or lunch bags when they became the cool thing - as the only other option in our country school was to beg off our friends. Amazing Mom made our lunches - no small feat considering we had to eat breakfast and be out of the house by 7:45. The lunch "prize" was the dessert, and we were rarely disappointed.
 
Kids still like something sweet. Peanut butter balls that my daughter got me hooked on last summer are my perfect sweet fix; because of the nut-oil content they travel best packed in a small container. Pesonally I don't mind them being a little soft so a couple stowed in a baggie where they're somewhat protected works for me.
 
I've adjusted the recipe a tad: click → printable copy of Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls.  Make some for lunches of all kinds - kids, work, camping and cycling trips, etc.
 
Last week I came across a recipe the closest I've seen to the chocolate-roasted hazelnut spread we know as Nutella. In good health conscience (though on occasion I indulge in a spoonful from someone else's jar), I can't recommend it for great health benefits (even with its hazelnuts, skim milk, and cocoa). And I have a hard time believing some claims that "star" Italian soccer players are energized and nourished with the product -  eating this healthier version, however, wouldn't be such a bad idea. Here's the recipe, by another name.
 
Click → Printable recipe of Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
 

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Ingredients:

2/3 cup hazelnuts, with skins on
 
*1/4 cup raw honey and 3-4 pitted Medjool dates
 
3-4 Tbsp. organic cocoa powder
 
1/3 - 1/2 cup milk (I used soy milk: other options are dairy, rice, almond, hemp)
 
(* other sweetening options: 1/2 maple syrup or raw honey, without dates. This will make it sweeter and smoother; I chose part honey/part dates for a less-refined product.)
 
Directions:
 
Toast hazelnuts in a pre-heated 350F degree oven, for about 12-15 minutes. A toaster oven works well when toasting such a small amount.
 
Let nuts cool slightly before rolling through your hands to rub most of the skins off.
 
Process the nuts in bowl of a food processor, pulsing and scraping down sides as necessary, until nuts are like a nut butter. This might take about 5 minutes.
 
Add sweetener and cocoa to hazelnut butter and process until smooth, about 5 minutes.
 
Add as much milk as necessary to achieve the consistency of cream cheese.
 
Scoop spread into a jar or other airtight container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. I doubt it will last that long!
 
 
To Serve/Pack-a-long Hazelnut Spread:
 
spread desired amount  (a.k.a. thick layer!) on favourite Ryvita cracker - top with another cracker
 
scoop spread into small plastic container with lid - pack along with rice crackers or cakes, pita chips, etc. Don't forget to send along a plastic knife!
 
spread desired amount on whole-wheat tortilla. Roll up, cut into wedges - and divide amongst the family!
 
What's your favourite healthy lunch idea? Please pass it along!
Posted by karen
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Our summer berry season was very short this year - I missed the pleasure of picking them myself.

Except for the blueberries. Both my husband and I love picking berries. So far, we've each spent an afternoon at the Lunenburg County Winery, happily filling our pails off their acres of high bush blueberry bushes. We've "filled our faces", my freezer has several large Ziploc bags full, and I've made some raw berry "cheesecake" pies. The pie in the photo has half raspberries (purchased at the farmer's market) and half blueberries. This pie tastes delicious with one berry type or a combination of your choice.

Click → Printable recipe for Raw Berry "Cheesecake" Pie

Raw Berry “Cheesecake” Pie

 
The Crust:
1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight and drained
1 cup raw, flaked coconut
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of sea salt – to taste
 
The Filling:
2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 tsp. extract)
about 1/4 cup water
pinch of sea salt
3 cups fresh berries – blueberries, raspberries or combination thereof
 
Instructions:
 
Place almonds in a food processor and process until almost fine. Add flaked coconut and process for a minute or so.
 
Add in the syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt. Process until everything is nicely incorporated.
 
Remove mixture from the bowl and press into the bottom and side of a 9-inch pie pan. Place in the freezer while you make the filling.
 
Place the cashews and about 1/4 cup water in the pitcher of a blender (or a food processor). Blend well, slowly add lemon juice, coconut oil, maple syrup, nutmeg, vanilla and sea salt.
 
Blend until creamy. (May be necessary to add more water.)
 
Remove the crust from the freezer and pour in about half of the filling. Scatter about half of the berries on pie, then add the rest of the filling. Place remaining berries on top. 
 
Freeze for a few hours. Cover with plastic wrap and foil, if pie is going to be in the freezer for more than a day.
 
Before serving, remove pie from freezer and place in refrigerator for a couple hours. (This pie can also be eaten directly from the freezer, however, I found it difficult to cut using just a fork – pieces broke off, with some of the chunks “flying” off the plate. That's why I like to allow the pie to soften a bit before eating.)
 
(Thanks to Heather Bruggeman for her generosity in allowing me to share her recipe.)
 
I still need more berries to put away for winter smoothies, muffins - and raw pies. Our season should continue for another 3-4 weeks so we've got time to head back to the patch for more fun.  
 
What are your favourite berry recipes? 

K is for Kale

31 Aug 2012
Posted by karen
karen's picture

Following a long hiatus, this was my first year back into vegetable gardening. Last summer, we prepared the soil: adding lime to balance the pH, mixing in organic matter hauled in from a local farm, mixing in the "dirt" our composter produced from all our fresh produce scraps.
 
This initial year my garden plan was not too complicated. I planted plenty of garlic last fall, which grew well (it's pretty hard to mess up with garlic) and is now curing - hanging on hooks in the shed. Greens are an important part of my daily menu so chard, spinach, mustard greens, and kale were on my list. Carrots, beets, onions, potatoes (my first experience with potato beetles @##&$!!), squash, leeks, summer turnips - with tomatoes, one jalapeno plant, a few (prolific) cucumber plants and some herbs filling in the rest. 
 
Some vegetables produced better than others - due to the timing of planting, the amount of rain (I had to supplement with hand watering), and the care that was given to it (which was on the short side for the veggies - not to mention the weeds: apologies to my Mom, whose gardening example I couldn't follow).
 
The biggest rewards have been my tomatoes, the volunteer squash that grew from the composter dump, the herbs - and the kale, which just goes on and on.  
 
I try to have a green smoothie or salad every day - plus toss extra greens into sauces and other dishes. I still have kale left in my garden.
 
 
 
On the recommendation from Gisele, a good friend and cook extraordinaire, I am freezing it for future frostier days. I've tasted Gisele's green smoothies made with her frozen kale and am confident in encouraging you to try this too.
 

How to freeze kale.

Wash kale leaves carefully (those little green worms can easily hide) and remove as much water as possible in a lettuce spinner.
 
Place a piece of waxed paper about 12"X12" on the cupboard and cover with torn kale leaves. For the amount of smoothie I make, I use about 2 1/2 oz. of kale. 
 
 
Carefully tucking in the leaves, roll the wax paper up into a tube.
 
 
Place tube in a Ziplog freezer bag. Once your bag is full of kale "rolls", put into freezer.
 
 
Take out rolls as needed to use in smoothies (or soups, etc.).
 
 
Freeze your kale - forward your garden's goodness to cold weather nutrition.
 
 
 

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