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Gluten-Free Apple Cake

This gluten-free apple cake is amazing! There are NO grains in the cake itself and I used gluten free oats for the topping. This one is a keeper — it’s so delicious and everyone can eat it!gluten free apple cake

I scare people when I bake. I mean, I literally scare them. I often burn things, the end result sometimes tastes… ummm… less than delicious, and I have even started fires in the oven. And yes, I did go to cooking school…

I’m a great cook because I can taste as I go and I don’t have to measure. But when it comes to baking, all bets are off  because I tend to treat baking like cooking and it just doesn’t work that way. You know… science.

But, every now and then I really get in the mood to bake something. I attribute this to my obsession with the Great British Baking Show. I can sit here and binge a ton of those shows and it truly makes me want to be a better baker. Oh, and if anyone knows where to buy Pru’s blue eyeglasses, pleeeaaaassseeee let me know because I really want them…  So, one day after watching a few episodes, I got that baking yen. So I started to peruse a ton of recipes that I have saved up and I figured I’d try my hand at combining recipes for several apple cakes until I got the desired result.

The cake needed to taste great. I wanted it to be healthy. It had to have great texture. In short I wanted it to not taste like a healthy dessert but rather like something I would actually be proud to serve.

It took some time, but this Gluten Free Apple Cake is the result. It’s great. Really. And not just great “for me”. It got the seal of approval from my family and they are the ones who are most scared to try my baked goods. This just goes to show you that anything is possible.

This Gluten Free Apple Cake is now tied with my Flourless Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies for my favorite dessert.

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gluten free apple cake

Here are some of the healing ingredients in this recipe for Gluten Free Apple Cake:

Almond flour is great. In Chinese medicine, nuts are known to be good for your brain, heart, skin and reproductive system. Almonds are particularly nutritious. They are a good source of protein and they give you energy. And, they are gluten free and make the best grain free flour! Almonds will help relieve a cough and asthma and are also good for constipation.

Buckwheat is great to eat if you have diarrhea. It also helps lower blood pressure, stops some types of sweating, and has a good amount of vitamin E. It also contains antioxidants that can help fight cancer and heart disease. Buckwheat is a seed, not a grain, so no inflammation here! I used some buckwheat flour in this cake.

It really is true that an apple a day is a good thing. Apples help to strengthen your heart. They are also good for your digestion and they can help eliminate mucus when you have a cold. So, the combination of apples and cinnamon together are great for this time of year when everyone seems to be getting sick. Apples have a high antioxidant content, especially Granny Smiths and Red Delicious. This, combined with the fact that they have a lot of healthy fiber, is why apples are good at fighting Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and some cancers. They have also been shown to help ward off diabetes, high cholesterol and gallstones.

Oats are great for the digestive system — they make you feel better if you are feeling bloated or have indigestion. This ancient grain can also help reduce some types of swelling in the body and, a little known tidbit: they can be eaten to help stop lactation. Just make sure to buy gluten-free oats if that’s your preference.

Ghee is a clarified butter that has had the milk solids removed and it is lactose free. And, it has the delicious taste of butter.  It has a high smoking point, and it doesn’t have to be refrigerated. I recommend buying organic ghee if possible. Ghee contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease.

Cinnamon is one of the best herbs to warm the body. It’s great if you have a cold. If you are nauseous or have diarrhea, go for the cinnamon. It also gives you energy and helps with menstrual pain. Cinnamon is a Chinese herb: “gui zhi” is the cinnamon twig and “rou gui” is the cinnamon bark. Both are warming and are used for a variety of ailments. In the winter I add cinnamon to all sorts of foods. It helps with the common cold, swelling, various menstrual issues and some aches and pains. Be careful with it if you have a fever because it is so warming. Here’s an article about the benefits of cinnamon from Well-Being Secrets.

gluten free apple cake

If you make any of this recipe for Gluten Free Apple Cake, please be sure to let me know in the comments below. I love hearing how you like a recipe, and I love to answer your questions! If you make it, be sure to take a photo and tag me and post it on Instagram.

Gluten-Free Apple Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: cake, dessert
Cuisine: gluten free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
This gluten free apple cake is delicious, healthy, and has all the feels of fall. You will love it!
Ingredients
  • 1-1/3 cups almond flour
  • ⅓ cup buckwheat flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda (make sure it's gluten-free if that is your need)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (make sure it's gluten-free if that is your need)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup oat milk (or can use another milk of choice -- again, make sure gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup non-dairy yogurt (I used cashew yogurt)
  • 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 green apple, peeled and finely diced
  • For the topping:
  • 3 Tbs melted ghee
  • 5 Tbs coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all of the flours, ½ cup coconut sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir well.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  5. Add the contents of the small bowl to the large bowl. Stir until combined.
  6. Stir in the yogurt, vinegar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and diced apple.
  7. Spread the contents into the prepared baking pan.
  8. Make the topping: stir together the ghee, oats, 5 Tbs coconut sugar, and the oats.
  9. Spread the topping evenly over the top of the batter.
  10. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
  11. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  12. Cut into squares and enjoy!

gluten free apple cake

Fig Almond Smoothie

Fig season is my favorite season. This Fig Almond Smoothie makes great use of all of the fresh figs around right now.

Fig Almond Smoothie

Late summer and early fall are fig seasons here in New York City. The farmer’s markets have tons of little baskets filled with purple and green figs. The scent is so sweet and they are absolutely gorgeous. As soon as I see them, I have to have them. So, I buy them. I buy way too many of them.

I bring home my fig baskets and I put them in the fridge. And then I try to think of new ways to use them, new recipes to make, and new ingredients to pair them with.

And all of this is not only because I love to create foods using the figs, but also because if I leave them in the fridge, I will eat them all as-is. All of them. In a matter of hours. So, not only do I need to be creative, but I need to be creative rather quickly.

This year, I’ve discovered the wonder of using figs in smoothies. I’ve always been one to put dates in my smoothies as a means to sweeten them, but it wasn’t until recently that I tried using figs this way.  Well I can tell you with certainty that they give this smoothie a great sweetness and an incredible texture. And they are so pretty as a garnish too!

It’s so important to eat seasonally. Eating with the seasons means you are getting the highest level of nutrients from your food at the most affordable prices. Fruits and vegetables that are in season are reasonably priced, provide the most nutrition, and are less-likely to be tampered with in terms of additives and preservatives. Read this article about what’s in season during late summer and then go wild… like I do with figs.

This is a smoothie that vanilla lovers will go crazy for. For some reason, many of my favorite smoothies are chocolate, but this one is now at the top of my favorites list. I just love the taste of the almonds mixed with the figs. There’s no actual vanilla in it, so maybe it’s one of those illusions — one of those we eat with our eyes things — because this tastes very vanilla to me. Whatever the reason, it is so creamy and so clean tasting and so delicious. And, it’s really good for you!

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Fig Almond Smoothie

Here are some of the amazing healing ingredients in this Fig Almond Smoothie:

Oat milk is the base of this smoothie. Oats are good for lethargy and anemia, can soothe digestion, and can help strengthen your bones. Oats are also good for reducing cholesterol, so they are a heart healthy choice. This ancient grain can also help reduce some types of swelling in the body and, a little known tidbit: they can be eaten to help stop lactation.

I use cauliflower for breads, crusts, rice, smoothies… everything. It can be used in so many forms… and, it’s really good for you. In Chinese medicine we use it to aid in digestion and help with constipation. One of the things I find most amazing about this cruciferous vegetable is it’s ability to help with age-related memory loss (My menopausal friends will appreciate this benefit!). It contains a healthy amount of Vitamin B, Vitamin K and Omega-3 fatty acids and can help fight cancer and cardiovascular disease. Cauliflower also helps the body with detoxification and with reducing inflammation. So, as far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier.

Collagen actually heals tissue, it helps to heal your intestinal/gut lining.  Some people who suffer from IBS and other common intestinal issues, have been found to have decreased levels of collagen in their bodies; adding collagen has helped heal these conditions. Collagen strengthens bones and muscles, keeps your joints healthy, improves flexibility and concentration, and helps heal your digestive system. It also keeps you looking youthful.

Figs have the highest amount of calcium of any fruit and are a good source of fiber. They are good for anemia, constipation, indigestion and fever, and they are also good at fighting fatigue and boosting memory retention.

In Asian medicine, we use coconut to strengthen the body, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding. Coconut kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes. And perhaps most importantly, it helps you keep your mind sharp and it makes it easier for you to focus.

Cinnamon is one of the best herbs to warm the body. It’s great if you have a cold. If you are nauseous or have diarrhea, go for the cinnamon. It also gives you energy and helps with menstrual pain. Cinnamon is a Chinese herb: “gui zhi” is the cinnamon twig and “rou gui” is the cinnamon bark. Both are warming and are used for a variety of ailments. In the winter I add cinnamon to all sorts of foods. It helps with the common cold, swelling, various menstrual issues and some aches and pains. Be careful with it if you have a fever because it is so warming.

Fig Almond Smoothie

If you make this Fig Almond Smoothie  recipe, please be sure to let me know in the comments below. I love hearing how you like a recipe, and I love to answer your questions! If you make it, be sure to take a photo and tag me and post it on Instagram.

Fig Almond Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: paleo, vegan, vegetarian, grain-free, gluten-free
Cuisine: smoothie, breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
This Fig Almond Smoothie is a great alternative to all those chocolate and green smoothies we love so much. This smoothie is so creamy and light... you'll love it!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oat milk (make sure it's gluten-free if you need it to be)
  • ½ cup frozen cauliflower florets
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1 scoop of collagen
  • 3 figs
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • small pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped coconut (or can use coconut cream)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender.
  2. Whiz it up until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour into a pretty glass.
  4. Enjoy!

Fig Almond Smoothie

Creamy Sweet Potato Bowl

This creamy sweet potato bowl is the most comforting bowl of creaminess ever… and it’s great for your digestion!

creamy sweet potato bowl

It’s Monday and it’s the first day of spring! So, happy spring… I know, the weather report says there’s another snow storm coming this week here in New York… but outside today it actually smells a little like the warmer weather might actually be on its way. Yup, even here in the city I can smell it. I can tell. I swear. It’s going to be spring soon. Fingers crossed.

Right before this past weekend, I was trying to step over one of my dogs who was sprawled out on the floor, and I got my toe caught on a chair leg in my living room and now it’s broken. Oh my, have you ever broken a toe? It’s really painful and you really do see stars. And there’s not much you can do to make it heal quickly. You never realize how many things you do during the day until you are restricted because of an injury. What I’m finding is that because I can’t do yoga for a little while or go on long walks in the park with the dogs, I have extra time to myself, and for me that means extra time in the kitchen.

I’m a big believer in not feeling sorry for myself. Especially over something fairly minor like a broken toe.

But, I’m also a big believer in doing whatever I can to make myself feel better. So, I allowed myself a few minutes of cursing and despair, and then I thought about what this injury would give me the excuse to do that I don’t usually get a chance to do. You know, like binge watching something mindless or reading more books than usual…. or cooking even more.

And, one of the things that always makes me smile is reading all of my favorite food blogs. When I saw Caitlin’s awesome recipe for a sweet potato breakfast bowl on From My Bowl, I just knew I had to made a version of it.

Okay, so here’s where I connect the dots of my ramblings… creamy, comforting, warming bowls of food always make me feel better. That’s how this creamy sweet potato bowl came to be. This bowl actually made me so happy that I made it three days in a row. And, if I hadn’t run out of some of the ingredients, I could have continued to make it for a few more days.

One of the awesome things about this recipe is that you can customize it any way you like. And it’s really easy. All you do is roast the sweet potatoes and combine the flesh with a few ingredients. After you scoop the creamy mixture into your favorite bowl, you can top it with whatever makes you happy. I was so in love with the bowl I made the first day, I made it exactly the same way each day I ate it… and I rarely eat the same exact thing twice. So, I highly recommend this creamy sweet potato bowl recipe it appears below.

creamy sweet potato bowlcreamy sweet potato bowl

Here are some of the healing ingredients in this creamy sweet potato bowl:

Sweet potatoes are good for your digestive system. They can be good for both constipation and diarrhea. These orange gems also help rid your body of excess water, are good for breast health, help people with diabetes and actually can help ease night blindness. In olden times, it was common in China to rub mashed sweet potatoes on poison insect bites to remove the toxins. I haven’t tried this, but if you see me looking a tad orange, this will be why…

Pomegranate seeds nourish the blood. In Chinese medicine, we know that many illnesses and conditions are caused by the body making poor quality blood. Pomegranate seeds are great at helping the body make good quality blood. They are also good to combat diarrhea, anemia and incontinence.

In eastern medicine, nuts are known to be good for your brain, heart, skin and reproductive system. Almonds are particularly nutritious. They are a good source of protein and they give you energy. And, they are gluten-free. Almonds will help relieve a cough and asthma and are also good for constipation. This recipe uses almond milk and can also include almond butter.

Cinnamon is one of the best herbs to warm the body. It’s great if you have a cold. If you are nauseous or have diarrhea, go for the cinnamon. It also gives you energy and helps with menstrual pain. Cinnamon is a Chinese herb: “gui zhi” is the cinnamon twig and “rou gui” is the cinnamon bark. Both are warming and are used for a variety of ailments. In the winter I add cinnamon to all sorts of foods. It helps with the common cold, swelling, various menstrual issues and some aches and pains. Be careful with it if you have a fever because it is so warming.

Research shows that pumpkin seeds may reduce blood sugar and increase bone density. And, because they are rich in iron, they are good if you are tired or have anemia. In Asian medicine, pumpkin seeds are sometimes used to get rid of intestinal parasites and to decrease inflammation in the body.

Sunflower seeds help lower blood pressure and can relieve headaches and dizziness. In Eastern medicine we recommend eating sunflower seeds if a person is troubled by certain severe intestinal symptoms like dysentery, or intestinal worms or certain parasites. These seeds also contain calcium and magnesium and have anti-aging properties. In Chinese medicine they are often prescribed to get rid of rashes. I like to use sunflower seed butter in this recipe.

creamy sweet potato bowl

Creamy Sweet Potato Bowl
Author: 
Recipe type: vegan, vegetarian, main course, sweet potatoes, vegetables
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: From My Bowl
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
This is so creamy and comforting and it can be customized any way you like. Make one of these bowls for breakfast, lunch, or dinner... it will put a smile on your face and heal you at the same time.
Ingredients
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) or almond butter (Here's the sunbutter I like)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • toppings: pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds (Here's some sprouted ones), cashew yogurt (or another non-dairy yogurt)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Poke a bunch of holes in your sweet potato with a fork.
  3. Place the sweet potato on a piece of foil or a small baking sheet and roast in the oven until cooked through -- about an hour.
  4. Remove the potato from the oven and slice it in half.
  5. Scoop the flesh into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the almond milk, nut butter, cinnamon, and sea salt. Mix until completely creamy. (You can also use a hand mixer or a blender for this.)
  6. Scrape the creamy mixture into 2 bowls.
  7. Top with pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, and a big dollop of yogurt.
  8. Enjoy!

creamy sweet potato bowl

Baked Eggplant Chickpea Skillet

I was craving veggies, but also comfort food… so I made this baked eggplant chickpea skillet for dinner. It’s like a cross between eggplant parm and a Moroccan chickpea stew and it hits all the right spots!
baked eggplant chickpea skillet

I’m not sure why, but every time I see a food described as a “skillet” I think it must be awesome. I’m a sucker for any type of breakfast skillet on any menu anywhere. So, when I have the chance to actually describe one of my dishes as a skillet, you can be sure I’m going to go for it. So, here’s my baked eggplant chickpea skillet.

People always ask me: “What are you?” in terms of my diet. I’m not sure what to answer anymore except that “I’m whatever is good for me at the time.” Last week I was on a meat kick and I made a huge meatloaf and a chicken curry dish and the biggest piece of salmon you’ve ever seen. The best part was that this big protein-fest made for the best leftovers ever. But now, I still have some left in the fridge, and I really can’t even look at it anymore. I mean, there’s only so many times I can eat the same thing no matter how many creative ways I re-invent it. And some of the ingredients I used aren’t dog friendly… ugh. Note to self: scale down on the number of servings!

Last night was my niece’s engagement party. It was soooo nice. A few of us wanted to eat a light dinner beforehand so we wouldn’t pig out on all of the enticing appetizers. I opened the fridge, looked in, saw all of the same food, and I just couldn’t do it. I so wished I had already made this baked eggplant chickpea skillet so that we could sit there with a bunch of forks and dig into that skillet! (By the way, the Poke bowls we ended up ordering in were so good!)

This week I’m feelin’ the veggies and I want to cook some vegan dishes, and even though I wished this food had been ready to eat last night, I’m happy it’s here today! This dish is healthy, clean, and comforting all at the same time. The first time I made this dish it was because I had seen a recipe for an eggplant and chickpea casserole from The New York Times and I just had to make a version of it.

Did you know that in Chinese medicine we use chickpeas to elevate the mood? Haha, I know that’s a pretty random thought here, but I just think it’s so awesome… And, this dish did make me happy…

It’s not quite prime farmers market season yet here in New York, so when I shopped for this dish I went to Whole Foods. They had more different types of eggplant than I’ve ever seen in one place. And they were so pretty. It took me awhile to choose which ones I wanted but I ended up choosing some long thin, light purple Japanese eggplants because there are no bitter seeds and the skin is really thin and not too noticeable. If you have a picky eggplant eater, I highly recommend this variety.

But… ooh, the white and neon purple striped eggplants… oh my! They are just so pretty. I’ll have to try those next time…

If you are a skillet freak like I am, you should also try my recipe for Vegan Skillet Zucchini Parmesan.

baked eggplant chickpea skilletbaked eggplant chickpea skillet

Here are some of the awesome things this baked eggplant chickpea skillet can do for you:

In eastern medicine, eggplant is added to the diet when there is pain in the body because it’s great for relieving pain and reducing swelling. It’s especially good to eat eggplant when you are experiencing some nasty digestive issues. It relieves stomach pain, helps with dysentery, diarrhea, and painful urinary conditions. Eggplant has also been used topically to treat frostbite and canker sores… talk about a multi-tasking vegetable…

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.

Chickpeas actually help calm the spirit. They relieve anxiety and soothe irritability… it kind of makes you realize why hummus is so popular…

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. In the winter, I eat lots and lots of onions… I guess I should feel sorry for the people close to me! Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; they actually can rid the body of bacteria. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!

Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (I love to do this), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects.

baked eggplant chickpea skilletbaked eggplant chickpea skillet

Baked Eggplant Chickpea Skillet
Author: 
Recipe type: stew, skillet, vegan, Moroccan, paleo
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: The New York Times
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This dish is warming, comforting, healing, and it's vegan. The sauce is slightly Moroccan in flavor and it compliments the eggplant so well. And it comes in a skillet!
Ingredients
  • 3 medium, thin, Japanese eggplant, sliced in half vertically, then sliced horizontally into ¼- to ½- inch thick half moons
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing the eggplant
  • For sauce:
  • 1 medium onion, cut in ½, then sliced thin
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 28-oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste (I love this one -- it comes in a jar!)
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar (here's an organic one)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (here's a good brand)
  • additional basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  3. Brush the foil with some oil.
  4. Lay the eggplant out on the oiled foil. Brush the eggplant with more oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  5. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 15 mins.
  6. Remove the tray from the oven, fold up the foil around the eggplant, crimping all sides so that the eggplant is completely enclosed, and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
  8. Meanwhile, make the sauce:
  9. Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. (If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, use a regular one and then before you put it in the oven, transfer everything to a baking dish.)
  10. Add the onion to the skillet, and saute until it begins to soften, about 3 mins.
  11. Add the crushed garlic, and saute, stirring, 30 seconds.
  12. Add the tomato paste, and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  13. Season with salt and pepper.
  14. Add all the remaining sauce ingredients, except the chickpeas, stir to combine, and simmer, uncovered, 15 mins.
  15. Stir in the chickpeas and the eggplant.
  16. Place the skillet in the oven and cook, uncovered, for 50 mins.
  17. Remove the wilted basil leaves, if you want (I actually like to eat them) and replace them with fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional).

baked eggplant chickpea skillet

Pumpkin Turmeric Latte

pumpkin turmeric latte

I have never been a “winter” person. I just hate the cold. But, over the years as I have learned to practice gratitude on a daily basis, I have found many things I love about winter. Don’t get me wrong — I still prefer a beach to a snowy mountain, but there are so many reasons to truly be happy about winter. And one of those things is a steaming cuppa… And this cuppa pumpkin turmeric latte is really something to make you smile, no matter how frigid the temp outside may be. Brrrrrrrrrrrrr….

Other than steaming favorful lattes, some of the things I now truly feel grateful for about winter are:

* Watching huge snowflakes fall from the sky (okay, so a lot of the time, I’m inside watching them, but still grateful)
* Christmas music (all the way from Thanksgiving to New Years)
* Fuzzy boots
* Big cozy sweaters
* Delicious bowls of hot steaming soup
* The smell of chestnuts roasting in the street vendors’ carts (yup, it’s just like the song says)
* My dogs’ total happiness in the snow
* Christmas movies

During the winter, I experiment with latte recipes all of the time. I mean, it’s like I’ve become possessed or something. And, I have never steamed my milk! I heat up my ingredients in a pot and these blitz it in the blender and pour it into my favorite mug. And ta-da we have an awesome latte.

Turmeric lattes are all the rage right now. There’s a little cafe around the corner from me that has them on the menu. But… blechhhhhh… they are gross. And I have no idea why. I mean, if you are putting in the right ingredients, it’s not hard to make it come out right. Anyway, these are the right ingredients, so go ahead whip this up!

And, after you drink this awesome pumpkin turmeric latte, if you want to try another warming winter recipe, try my Hot Chocolate Smoothie Bowl!

pumpkin turmeric latte

Here are some of the healing ingredients in this pumpkin turmeric latte:

Pumpkin can help reduce pain and fever and can soothe stomach irritations. It’s a great food to treat constipation, allergies and asthma. It’s high in vitamin A and can help protect your lungs and intestines from cancer.

Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric.

Black pepper is also a Chinese herb (Hu Jiao). It’s used to control vomiting and diarrhea and is good for some stomach pains. This common herb also can help the body more easily absorb nutrients, and it is sometimes prescribed to lessen the symptoms of respiratory ailments. Be sure to use black pepper whenever you use turmeric, because it increases the body’s ability to absorb the turmeric.

Collagen strengthens bones and muscles, keeps your joints healthy, improves flexibility and concentration, and helps heal your digestive system. It also keeps you looking youthful.

Dates are rich in potassium, dietary fiber and tannins. Fiber is good for your gut and tannins help the body fight inflammation and infection. Dates are also rich in vitamin A and iron. The most amazing thing about dates is that they can be used to replace sugar in almost anything. I stopped using sweetened protein powders in my smoothies and now I use unsweetened ones but I add a few dates.

Cinnamon is one of the best herbs to warm the body. It’s great if you have a cold. If you are nauseous or have diarrhea, go for the cinnamon. It also gives you energy and helps with menstrual pain. Cinnamon is a Chinese herb: “gui zhi” is the cinnamon twig and “rou gui” is the cinnamon bark. Both are warming and are used for a variety of ailments. In the winter I add cinnamon to all sorts of foods. It helps with the common cold, swelling, various menstrual issues and some aches and pains. Be careful with it if you have a fever because it is so warming.

In Asian medicine, we use coconut to strengthen the body, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding. Coconut kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes. And perhaps most importantly, it helps you keep your mind sharp and it makes it easier for you to focus. I like to use full-fat canned coconut milk for these lattes.

pumpkin turmeric latte

Pumpkin Turmeric Latte
Author: 
Recipe type: beverage, latte, hot drink
Cuisine: paleo, whole30, breakfast, snack, dairy-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
This is the perfect cup of steaming deliciousness. It's so healing and no steamed milk is required. I make mine with dairy-free milk.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat the coconut milk and the water in a small pot.
  2. Pour the hot milk into your blender and add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Whiz it up good.
  4. Enjoy!

pumpkin turmeric latte

Grain Free Banana Bread

grain free banana bread

The other day I was on a hunt for grain-free, unsweetened desserts. I know, sounds pretty unappetizing. That’s why I needed to hunt. When I came across this recipe for grain free banana bread, my expectations were fairly low. But, I must give kudos to Michele at Paleo Running Mamma because that’s where I found the original recipe, and it’s genius.

I’ve made grain free cakes and breads before and more often than not, they don’t rise enough or they are really dense. But not this recipe. This grain free banana bread is delicious. And it rose. And it turned golden on the outside. And it tastes unbelievable — it’s sweet with no added sweeteners.

This month, I’ve been on an elimination diet. I’ve been indulging a tad too much since I moved into Manhattan. I mean, it’s just so easy to eat and drink way too much here. I really deluded myself into thinking that because there are so many healthy places to eat here that I would be in tip top shape. Haha — turns out even though I eat really healthy, I eat way too much. And don’t even get me started on happy hours and brunches…

This grain-free banana bread is sitting in my kitchen now and it’s making me smile because I know I can grab a slice of it later and have it with a great cuppa something. Yum.

And, if you are looking for another healthy baked goods recipe, try my Grain Free Peanut Butter Cookies.

grain free banana breadgrain free banana bread

This grain free banana bread has some great healing ingredients:

Bananas are good for your intestines (an old Asian remedy was to eat a banana every day to relieve hemorrhoids) and your lungs, and they even help relieve the effects of overindulging in alcohol.

I am a big proponent of eating the whole egg. So many of the nutrients and the taste are in the yolk; I’ll never understand separating nature’s perfect food. Eggs help with many types of dryness in the body. If you have a dry cough or a frog-in-your-throat, try eating some eggs. They have also been shown to help women with various conditions during and after pregnancy. Some people consider eggs to be a superfood. They contain a large amount of vitamins A and B and are a great source of protein. Eggs sometimes get a bad rap because of cholesterol, but it’s been shown that in 70% of people, eggs do not raise cholesterol, so don’t assume they are bad for you. Buy organic eggs and you are really doing the right thing.

In eastern medicine, nuts are known to be good for your brain, heart, skin and reproductive system. Almonds are particularly nutritious. They are a good source of protein and they give you energy. And, they are gluten-free. Almonds will help relieve a cough and asthma and are also good for constipation. This recipe uses almond flour.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

Cinnamon is one of the best herbs to warm the body. It’s great if you have a cold. If you are nauseous or have diarrhea, go for the cinnamon. It also gives you energy and helps with menstrual pain. Cinnamon is a Chinese herb: “gui zhi” is the cinnamon twig and “rou gui” is the cinnamon bark. Both are warming and are used for a variety of ailments. In the winter I add cinnamon to all sorts of foods. It helps with the common cold, swelling, various menstrual issues and some aches and pains. Be careful with it if you have a fever because it is so warming. Here’s an article about the benefits of cinnamon from Well-Being Secrets.

grain free banana bread

Grain Free Banana Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert, snack, paleo, vegetarian, gluten free
Cuisine: Recipe adapted from: Paleo Running Mamma
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
All the taste of traditional banana bread, but no grains and no sweeteners! This is so easy and so delicious! Perfect with a cuppa....
Ingredients
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1-3/4 cups almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cuphemp seeds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas and the eggs.
  4. Stir in the vanilla and the coconut oil.
  5. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the mashed banana and egg mixture.
  7. Stir to combine.
  8. Pour the batter into the lined loaf pan.
  9. Bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (Mine took 65 minutes, but be sure to check yours at 45 minutes... all ovens are different.)
  10. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  11. Slice.
  12. Enjoy!

grain free banana bread

Turmeric Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are great for your heart, digestion, and skin!
turmeric chia pudding

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I absolutely love to go out for breakfast. I also love to cook breakfast. I love breakfast for dinner… and lunch. But, I’m human, and sometimes there’s just not enough time in the morning to have an elaborate breakfast. OK, most days there’s not enough time. Except Sundays. Sundays are made for HUGE breakfasts. Anyway, this turmeric chia pudding is the perfect solution to those I-have-no-time-for-a-good-breakfast days.

Chia seeds are like magic beans. You take the sand-like substance out of the bag, add liquid, and you get a velvety, rice-pudding-like creamy pudding. Magic.

I have made chia pudding in every flavor imaginable. And, I’ve also experimented with some flavors that most sane people wouldn’t want to imagine… This turmeric chia pudding was a great experiment! It has a slight Chai flavor. And the goji berries in it give it great extra flavor and texture.

Have you made chia pudding before?

It’s the easiest! Put the ingredients in a jar, shake it up, put the jar in the fridge overnight. Eat it in the morning. Done. Cue smile on face. And, it’s sooooooo good for you!

If you don’t like the texture of rice pudding, or tapioca, feel free to put it in the blender in the morning to get a smoother pudding. But, I like mine with all the chia texture.

If you want to try another flavor of chia pudding, try my recipe for Matcha Chia Pudding.

turmeric chia puddingturmeric chia pudding

Here are some of the amazing healing ingredients in this turmeric chia pudding:

Chia seeds are ancient seeds that got their name from the Mayan word for “strength”. These tiny seeds have the unique ability to turn liquid into a gel-like substance when making puddings and they are great added to smoothies and shakes. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids,and fiber. And, because they are so high in antioxidants, they help keep your skin looking younger. They help optimize both your digestive system and your cardiovascular system.

Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric.

Cashews are really a multi-tasking nut. I use them all the time so I say it all the time: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts. Most of the fat in cashews is unsaturated and is made up of oleic acid; this is the same acid that is found in olive oil, making these nuts a heart-healty choice. For this chia pudding, I used cashew milk.

Pure maple syrup contains antioxidants that help reduce inflammation in the body (think inflammatory bowel syndrome or heart disease). It also contains zinc, calcium, and magnesium. It’s much lower on the glycemic scale than traditional sugar. Whenever possible, use a darker (grade B) syrup because the nutritional composition is better than that of lighter syrups.

Cinnamon is one of the best herbs to warm the body. It’s great if you have a cold. If you are nauseous or have diarrhea, go for the cinnamon. It also gives you energy and helps with menstrual pain. Cinnamon is a Chinese herb: “gui zhi” is the cinnamon twig and “rou gui” is the cinnamon bark. Both are warming and are used for a variety of ailments. In the winter I add cinnamon to all sorts of foods. It helps with the common cold, swelling, various menstrual issues and some aches and pains. Be careful with it if you have a fever because it is so warming. Here’s an article about the benefits of cinnamon from Well-Being Secrets.

Goji berries are also a Chinese herb (Gou Qi Zi). They are great for your blood. I prescribe them to some people with chronic pain in the legs and lower back. They are also good for men experiencing impotence and can be used to treat some eye problems. Women who are pregnant and people with intestinal issues should be careful not to eat too many gojis, but the amount in this bark should be fine for anyone.

turmeric chia pudding

Turmeric Chia Pudding
Author: 
Recipe type: paleo, vegan, vegetarian, simple, overnight
Cuisine: breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Put all of the ingredients in a jar and shake it up. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Done. Awesome.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cashew milk (or another non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • ¼ cup plus 3-Tbs chia seeds (you can buy them here)
  • 3 Tbs pure maple syrup (you can try this one)
  • 1-1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • about 1 tsp turmeric powder (use a little more or less depending on your taste) (here's one)
  • 6 grinds of black pepper (don't leave this out -- it helps with the absorption of turmeric)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 Tbs goji berries
Instructions
  1. Put all of the ingredients into a mason jar.
  2. Put the lid on.
  3. Shake it up.
  4. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. Enjoy in the morning.

turmeric chia pudding

Apple Cinnamon Smoothie

It really is true what they say about an-apple-a-day, so you need to try this apple cinnamon smoothie!

apple cinnamon smoothie

I ran out of frozen fruit!!! I always have bags of frozen fruit in my freezer! Ok, clearly not always, but it’s such a rare thing for my freezer to be bare in this department, that it startled me a bit. My Vitamix was on the counter ready to go. My big glass was right next to it and my favorite glass straw was at the ready. I really wanted a fruit smoothie… so I searched the fridge. Apples! Now, I had a plan…

I make juice with apples a lot, but I couldn’t remember ever making an apple smoothie before. Sometimes, you just get lucky the first time… this is really good!

It’s tastes a bit like apple pie filling. And it’s really, really creamy. Something about this apple cinnamon smoothie is extra comforting. There’s just something about the combination of cinnamon and apples that is like a big hug. I know, that sounds really cheesy, but anything that’s reminiscent of apple pie just has to make you smile.

So, on this rainy afternoon when my tastebuds were ready for a berry smoothie, I made this apple cinnamon smoothie instead. I sat there on my couch looking out at the cold rain on the streets of Manhattan, and I savored this thick creamy hug of a smoothie. You really should try it…

If you are in the mood for a berry smoothie (and you actually have berries in your house), try this one.

apple cinnamon smoothie

There are lots of nutritional benefits in this awesome smoothie:

It really is true that an apple a day is a good thing. Apples help to strengthen your heart. They are also good for your digestion and they can help eliminate mucus when you have a cold. So, the combination of apples and cinnamon together are great for this time of year when everyone seems to be getting sick. Apples have a high antioxidant content, especially Granny Smiths and Red Delicious. This, combined with the fact that they have a lot of healthy fiber, is why apples are good at fighting Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and some cancers. They have also been shown to help ward off diabetes, high cholesterol and gallstones.

Cinnamon is one of the best herbs to warm the body. It’s great if you have a cold. If you are nauseous or have diarrhea, go for the cinnamon. It also gives you energy and helps with menstrual pain. Cinnamon is a Chinese herb: “gui zhi” is the cinnamon twig and “rou gui” is the cinnamon bark. Both are warming and are used for a variety of ailments. In the winter I add cinnamon to all sorts of foods. It helps with the common cold, swelling, various menstrual issues and some aches and pains. Be careful with it if you have a fever because it is so warming. Here’s an article about the benefits of cinnamon from Well-Being Secrets.

In Asian medicine, we use coconut to strengthen the body, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding. Coconut kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes. The base of this smoothie is made with coconut milk (the kind in the can), and it’s just perfect!

Dates are rich in potassium, dietary fiber and tannins. Fiber is good for your gut and tannins help the body fight inflammation and infection. Dates are also rich in vitamin A and iron. The most amazing thing about dates is that they can be used to replace sugar in almost anything.

Cashews are really a multi-tasking nut. I use them all the time so I say it all the time: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts. Most of the fat in cashews is unsaturated and is made up of oleic acid; this is the same acid that is found in olive oil, making these nuts a heart-healty choice. I know some of you have a problem finding raw nuts sometimes — I’m happy to try to help you locate them if you need shopping suggestions, so just leave a comment and I will try to help. I buy then whenever and wherever I see them. I’m also lucky enough to live near a Whole Foods, so I sometimes buy them from the bulk bins here. Cashews help add to the creaminess of this smoothie.

Research shows that pumpkin seeds may reduce blood sugar and increase bone density. And, because they are rich in iron, they are good if you are tired or have anemia. In Asian medicine, pumpkin seeds are sometimes used to get rid of intestinal parasites and to decrease inflammation in the body. I buy pumpkin seed protein in powder form because it’s a great easy way to add protein to my shakes and smoothies without adding any extra sugar. (See the recipe below for where to buy it.)

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

apple cinnamon smoothie (vertical single glass)-2139

Apple Cinnamon Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: smoothie
Cuisine: superfoods, American, breakfast, snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Apples and cinnamon are delicious in this creamy coconut-milk-based smoothie. Just blend up all of the ingredients, and as you sip you can feel the healthy ingredients working!
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender (I used my Vitamix, so it was pretty quick), and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into glasses. Enjoy!

apple cinnamon smoothie

Grain-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

You’ll swear there’s oatmeal in these grain-free oatmeal raisin cookies, but nope… totally grain-free!

grain-free oatmeal raisin cookies

These grain-free oatmeal raisin cookies are magical. I say that because there is no way you can tell that they are grain-free. You can’t tell by the texture — they have the exact texture of traditional oatmeal cookies. You can’t tell by the taste –nthey taste better than most oatmeal raisin cookies!

Full disclosure: I am not the magician here. The original recipe is from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain, cookbook, so kudos to Danielle! I took some liberties with the recipe when I made it (because I am pretty sure I am incapable of not changing a recipe…), and I (not being the best baker in the world) was so impressed with the end result that I ended up making a ton of these cookies and putting bags of them in my freezer! Another disclosure: they are so good that sometimes we eat them frozen instead of waiting for them to defrost…

A few weeks ago I had some old friends over for dinner. It was the first dinner party I had in our new apartment. But more importantly, the women who were coming are amazing women who I re-connected with after many years and I really wanted the serve special food.  I knew some of my guests would bring dessert (at least those that were not bringing wine) so I just wanted to have something here that was healthy to nibble on so I wouldn’t go crazy eating all of the decadent desserts I expected would be on the table. Well, my friends did not disappoint. Yes, we had lots and lots of wine. But, between the Italian pastries and the cheesecake and the prettiest boxes of cookies I ever saw, I set a basket of these grain-free oatmeal raisin cookies. And, they were able to withstand the competition! They really are that good!

If you like chocolate chip cookies, but don’t want the grains, try my Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookie recipe.

grain-free oatmeal raisin cookies

Here are some of the reasons these cookies are awesome for you:

In Asian medicine, nuts are known to be good for your brain, heart, skin and reproductive system. Almonds are particularly nutritious. They are a good source of protein and they give you energy. And, they are gluten-free. Almonds will help relieve a cough and asthma and are also good for constipation. Even if you are not on a dairy-free diet, almond milk is the way to go. This recipe uses almond meal instead of a grain-based flour.

Coconut strengthens the body, reduces swelling, and stops bleeding. It kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes. It’s the coconut flakes that mimic the texture of oatmeal in these cookies, and there is also some coconut flour included.

Raisins help relieve constipation, can help bring down a fever, and can be good for you if you have anemia. Research has also shown them to be effective in helping to ward of cancer because they increase antioxidant levels in your body.

Cinnamon is one of the best herbs to warm the body. It’s great if you have a cold. If you are nauseous or have diarrhea, go for the cinnamon. It also gives you energy and helps with menstrual pain. Cinnamon is used in different forms in Chinese medicine: “gui zhi” is the cinnamon twig and “rou gui” is the cinnamon bark. Both are warming and are used for a variety of ailments. In the winter I add cinnamon to all sorts of foods. It helps with the common cold, swelling, various menstrual issues and some aches and pains. Be careful with it if you have a fever because it is so warming.

Goji berries are a Chinese herb (Gou Qi Zi). They are great for your blood. I prescribe them to some people with chronic pain in the legs and lower back. They are also good for men experiencing impotence and can be used to treat some eye problems. Women who are pregnant and people with intestinal issues should be careful not to eat too many gojis, but the amount in these cookies shoud be fine for anyone.

Honey is an amazing food. It is also a Chinese herb (Feng Mi). Raw honey is honey in its purest form; it has not been filtered, strained or heated above 115 degrees. This means when you eat it, the enzymes, anti-oxidants and nutrients haven’t been disturbed. I use raw honey in my tea, smoothies and in any recipe that calls for honey. Raw honey is solid and may need to be melted before you use it, but this is easy and only takes a minute or two. Honey helps with constipation, some coughs, and some stomach ulcers.

grain-free oatmeal raisin cookies

 

Grain-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert, grain-free, paleo
Cuisine: Recipe adapted from: Against All Grain
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 dozen
 
These are oatmeal cookies with no oatmeal... but no one will ever know!
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a mixer bowl, place the shortening and egg and mix until well combined.
  3. Add the honey and vanilla and mix until creamy.
  4. In a separate small bowl, combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, almond meal, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and flax meal.
  5. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix for about one minute, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  6. Add the coconut, raisins, and goji berries and mix again until combined, about one minute.
  7. Using a tablespoon, place balls of dough onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. You should end up with about 2 dozen balls.
  8. Wet your palm and gently flatten each ball. I like my cookies kind of thick, so I didn't flatten mine too much.
  9. Bake for 6 minutes, then swap the tray positions so they will evenly cook. Then cook for 4 minutes and then swap again and cook for another 4 minutes. Then repeat for 3 minutes in each position.
  10. *This is how long my cookies took to bake; be aware and check the cookies often -- if they are thinner than mine were (see how thick mine are in the photos), they will cook faster. The original recipe calls for 12 minutes total cooking time.

 

grain-free oatmeal raisin cookies

Butternut Squash And Apple Soup With Beets And Kale

I make this butternut squash and apple soup with beets and kale so often — you’ve got to try it!

butternut squash soup w kale overhead (less clarity)-1

Yay, it’s full-blown soup season! I eat soup all year round but now that Thanksgiving’s almost here, I feel better posting my soups because who doesn’t love soup when the weather gets all crisp and chilly?  I know when I post soups in the summer, some people wonder what could possibly be going on in my head… This is the soup I’m going to serve for Thanksgiving. The base of it is an amazingly warming butternut squash and apple soup but it’s kicked up with fresh turmeric. Turmeric makes it so good for you and it gives it a little spice and just look at the gorgeous color!  And the toppings (because you have to have toppings, right?) are shredded beets and garlicky kale… OMG, it’s so good…

This year, we are having Thanksgiving for the first time in our new apartment. I’m used to cooking in a big kitchen, so there are some challenges, but it will be so much fun. I’ve been testing out recipes that are great to make in advance because of working with less stove and oven  space and this one is a big winner — you should try it too. I will make it Tuesday or Wednesday and hide it in the back of the fridge til Thursday.

I make a soup every year for Thanksgiving. I don’t serve it with the meal though. I like to keep it in a pot on the stove all day for those who get hungry before the meal. I keep the soup on the burner and the toppings next to it on the counter with a stack of bowls and people just help themselves. It works out so much better than making separate appetizers and it’s really really delicious.  And, it’s really easy to hold a bowl  or mug of soup (just not those shallow bowls) in your hands while you are screaming at the TV while watching football.

This year, the soup toppings will include shredded raw beets and thinly sliced warmed garlicky kale…
kale and tongs-1

OK, now I have to tell you why this soup is a must; why it is SOOOOOO good for you.

Butternut squash is more than just a delicious vegetable; it’s really good for you. It’s a good fever reducer, it can lessen stomach pain and it can be a comfort during pregnancy when the baby feels like she’s doing acrobatics. It’s also rich in carotenoids and Vitamin B6. This means it’s good for your heart and can help lower bad cholesterol. And, because butternut squash can help reduce inflammation in the body, it benefits almost everyone.

Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric. When you combine turmeric with cinnamon (yup, another Chinese herb — Rou Gui) the pain relief can be amazing.

It really is true that an apple a day is a good thing. Apples help to strengthen your heart. They are also good for your digestion and they can help eliminate mucus when you have a cold. So, the combination of apples and cinnamon and turmeric together are great for this time of year when everyone seems to be getting sick.

Kale is everywhere these days. It is extremely nutritious, and because it to so popular you can find it already washed and prepared in lots of markets. My cheat for this recipe was that I bought this kale already shredded and washed at the market. If you are using a whole bunch of kale, make sure you clean the leaves thoroughly and remove the center thick stems if they bother you (me… I don’t really mind them if the kale is cooked). This dark leafy green is a great source of fiber and calcium. It’s also rich in many minerals, including magnesium, iron and potassium. One serving contains 200% of the daily requirements of Vitamin C and 180% of Vitamin A.

Beets are SO good for you. I try to find ways to fit them into my meals as much as possible. Really… many times a week. Beets nourish blood and tonify the heart. Athletes are starting to drink beet juice as a form of endurance therapy. They are anti-carcinogenic, good for anemia, and relieve constipation. I also think it’s a great idea to eat them raw sometimes because their amazing goodness is even more pumped up this way.

butternut squash soup side-1

Butternut Squash And Apple Soup With Beets And Kale
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Butternut squash combines with apples and turmeric for the most amazing and healthful soup ever. And, as if that wasn't enough... the toppings are garlicky kale and shredded beets!
Ingredients
  • For soup:
  • 1 Tbs ghee or grassfed butter
  • 1-1/2 lb butternut squash chunks
  • 1 med onion, roughly chopped
  • 1-inch piece of fresh turmeric root, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 large apple, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 large sage leaves, chopped
  • For kale:
  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic gloves, sliced
  • 2 cups finely shredded lacinto (black) kale leaves
  • shredded raw beets (for topping)
  • extra sage leaves, chopped (for topping)
Instructions
  1. In a large soup pot, over medium-high heat, melt the ghee. Add the squash, onion, cinnamon stick, apple, and curry powder. Season with salt.
  2. Season with salt and stir for about 5 minutes, until the veggies start to soften a bit and everything is coated well.
  3. Pour in the broth. Stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook about 30 minutes, or until the squash is soft.
  4. Meanwhile, make the kale: In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, and saute the garlic until it is just starting to brown (but don't burn it!).
  5. Add the kale to the skillet, Raise the heat to high and with your tongs, toss the kale continuously until it's all coated with the garlicky oil. Then turn off the heat. This should only take about 1 minute. Season with salt.
  6. When the soup is done cooking, discard the cinnamon stick and transfer the soup to a blender (my Vitamix made this soup like velvet). I did this in 2 batches so as not to overfill the blender with hot soup. Cover the blender tightly with a clean dish cloth and whiz it up until it's velvety smooth. Use a dish towel instead of the blender cover, so the steam can escape.
  7. Transfer the cooked soup back into the pot.
  8. Ladle the soup into bowls or mugs.
  9. Put the kale and beets in separate bowls.
  10. Put a big dollop of beets in the center of each bowl and sprinkle with extra sage.
  11. Serve the kale alongside and let people choose whether to put in in their soup or eat it on the side.
  12. Enjoy!