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I hope you are in a safe place–both physically and emotionally. Last week was a very difficult one for our nation, for our nation’s black community, and for many of us individually.

I won’t begin to think I am informed enough or experienced enough to talk about the struggles that so many people of color still face today across our nation. What I will say is that I am fully aware of my white (half-Asian, actually) privilege, and I remind my children of it regularly–not just speaking of the color of their skin, but also the circumstances into which they were born.

But above all else, I try to teach them to treat everyone with kindness and compassion, to look beyond any outward appearance or labels (e.g. black/white, gay/straight, racist/antiracist). After all, while there may be an occasional bad egg amongst all the good ones, racism is born out of ignorance, and it’s often born into. Our country is vast, our neighborhoods are mostly still segregated, and that ignorance is allowed to continue year after year, generation after generation.

I do believe we all have a responsibility to be actively antiracist, and we have a responsibility to seek to understand.

I stress-bake, and I stress-eat, so was doing a lot of both last week. Luckily, I still managed to keep it healthy. Here’s a dish that’s colorful, tasty and easy to prepare (although you need to allow 30 minutes to cook the farro and 35-40 minutes to roast the beets). You might be thinking, wait, isn’t she gluten-free? No, I’m not. I rarely eat gluten, but I have no obvious intolerance to it, and indulge occasionally when it’s something I really like, such as farro–because I just love the texture and slightly nutty flavor, and a good loaf of pain levain.

Farro, like Einkhorn, hasn’t gone through all the hybridization that modern wheat has (which has significantly increased the gluten content of today’s wheat), so it’s largely believed to be much the same grain as it was more than 100 years ago. While it still poses real dangers to celiac individuals or anyone with high gluten sensitivity, it (luckily) can be enjoyed by the rest of us.

This recipe serves as a great main dish for lunch or a side dish for dinner, and it travels well for a picnic at the beach. You can also make it vegan by leaving out the feta, although it changes the flavor profile.

 

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cups cooked farro*

2 golden beets roasted at 375F until tender (about 35-40 minutes)

1 cup mixed radishes, trimmed and quartered

2 oz feta (I use a sheep’s milk version)

3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

* Place 1 cup of farro in a medium saucepan. Wash and rinse 2-3 times. Add two cups water and place over medium-high heat. When the water begins to boil, turn down the heat, cover the pan and simmer the farro for 30 minutes. Drain off any excess water.

 

Preparation

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Set aside.

Carefully peel the skin off the beets, and slice into 1/2-inch chunks. Place in a medium bowl. Add in the radishes, fresh herbs and oil and vinegar mixture and toss to combine thoroughly. Add in the feta and toss again. Season with salt and pepper

Best served immediately, still slightly warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

(Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side. Adapted from http://www.bonappetit.com)

 

 

Do you ever get a sudden inexplicable craving for a particular dish or flavor? When I get stressed, I start craving pickles (the really crunchy dill kind) and salami–basically anything really strong in flavor. Often sauerkraut or kimchi will do in a bind. I also regularly crave almond flavor, and I’m not talking about the flavor you get from a handful of almonds. I’m talking about that super strong flavor you get from almond extract.

My mom used to make these delectable almond butter cookies using white flour, loads of butter and sugar and almond extract. They were flaky, sweet and super almondy, and while I haven’t attempted to recreate them gluten-free, I’m often nostalgic for that flavor.

I recently discovered some pears in my fruit bowl that had become very ripe, and since they were too ripe to slice into a salad, I thought why not bake them into an almond cake? Who doesn’t love the combination of pears and almonds? The added spices make this version more flavorful and a little more “sophisticated” in case you’re serving it to guests (or leaving it on a friend’s doorstep during the COVID-19 restrictions).

Like most of my recipes, this one is super easy to make. After all, who needs more challenge and stress in their lives right now? You can make this using any variety of pear, but I prefer to use Bartlett or Packam.

 

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I like this brand)

1 cup almond flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, softened or 1/2 cup mild-tasting olive oil

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

3 Tbsp nut milk

2 ripe pears, peeled, quartered and cored, and cut crosswise in 1/4-inch slices

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a standard 8-inch cake pan or springform pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

In a larger bowl, beat the butter (if using) with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until its a smooth, even consistency. Beat in the sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending well. Add in the extracts and nut milk, and blend. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and fold in just until blended. Fold in the pear slices. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and gently smooth the top using the back of a spoon or rubber spatula.

Place in the center of the oven and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake has turned golden brown.

Allow the cake to cool completely and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Enjoy!

 

Almond Butter Blondies

 

Call me weird, but I have always preferred blondies over brownies. Don’t get me wrong… I love chocolate, but I like it in small doses, like one or two squares of a high-quality, dark chocolate bar. But something about blondies makes my mouth literally water, and traditional blondies share a lot in common (i.e., butter and sugar) with my favorite sweet flavor–butterscotch.

The blondies of my childhood were essentially white flour, butter and brown sugar (think obesity, type II diabetes, high triglycerides, etc.). So how can I indulge in eating my beloved blondies without putting on 10 pounds, causing my insulin levels to go haywire or just feeling badly for overindulging?

Enter almond-butter blondies. I make mine with very little sugar–which offsets a lot of guilt, and with almond butter and almond flour, so I feel I’m getting something good (i.e., a hefty serving of protein) out of my indulgence. In fact, I generally feel so justified in eating these, that I almost never stop at just one!

These are gluten-free, get a nice “crust” to them, yet retain plenty of gooey, chewy goodness on the inside. My kids are always trying to get me to add in extra chocolate chips or chunks, but it’s actually the non-chocolate part I’m really after. I hope you will give them a try, and tweak the recipe as you wish to fit your sweet and texture preferences.

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup almond butter

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup coconut sugar (to make Paleo) or 1/3 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 scant cup almond flour

2 Tbsp tapioca starch

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 generous tsp sea salt

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, chunks or chopped pecans or walnuts

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper (so there’s no pan to clean up!).

In a small bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips, chunks or nuts) and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the almond butter and sugar until well blended and no lumps are left. Whisk in the vanilla and coconut oil, followed by the egg. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until blended, then fold in the chocolate chips, chunks or nuts.

Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and carefully smooth the surface using the spatula. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are just slightly brown. (It’s better to underbake slightly instead of overbake so the cookies retain some gooey/chewy quality!)

Allow to cool completely before cutting into 9 or 16 squares depending on whether you want to feel guilty for having more than one at a time.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Wherever you are on our shared rock, I hope you are safe and healthy!

The challenging times we find ourselves in impact all of us–some of us much more than others. Some of us are without a partner, some of us wish we could be. Some of us are homeschooling children, some of us are teaching children remotely. Many people have lost their jobs, and many more have had to scale back their hours and subsequent pay. All of us are living with some degree of fear and uncertainty. Some of us are lucky to live close to nature so we have an escape from the fear and worry that naturally accompanies times like these, while others are isolated in tiny spaces in densely populated cities.

Our current challenges make us all vulnerable, and can drive people apart–making some desperate to hold on to whatever they have or can get their hands on (e.g., toilet paper). However, I’m personally encouraged by the positive, caring unifying sentiments many have shared or demonstrated. I’ve also been uplifted by all the humor people have shared–cuz’ we can all use a little laughter during times like this.

This time also gives pause not only to think about what’s happening, but why, and theories abound linking COVID-19 to overpopulation, a lack of respect for or understanding of nature, even climate change. Some of those connections are more tenuous, but let’s be honest–we have ravaged and abused our beautiful planet home in many ways, and maybe this is her way of crying out or fighting back. Which is why now, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, is as good a time as any to think about how we can reduce our impact on her.

I’ve had people tell me that unless there’s a sector-wide change (e.g., automative, airline, or agricultural industry), or something overarching, like a carbon tax, that it doesn’t really matter what any one of us does or doesn’t do. I couldn’t disagree more. Think about it… Maybe you choose to do just one thing differently. You’re just one person, but then you share what you’re doing with a couple family members or friends, and your comment influences one or two of them to make a change as well. Then they go on to do the same, and the ripple grows wider. What’s more, when we make a healthy change in one area of our lives, it tends to influence other areas as well (i.e., you’re hard-pressed to find someone on a Whole30 diet who exercises regularly and smokes a pack of cigarettes a day).

The decision to make a positive change leads to exponential growth and has exponential benefits.

I’m sure you’ve seen dozens of lists of what you can do to live a little greener, but if you’re like me, every time I read one, I think of something new or I’m reminded of an area I could do better in. Here’s a handful of old, but still impactful ideas:

  1. Consume less – We live in a society of consumerism, which has proven bad for the planet on almost every level. Maybe COVID-19 has helped remind some of us about what matter most–our health, the health of our loved ones, time spent with our loved ones, etc. Making a conscious decision to buy fewer things and/or buy second hand, helps our planet and our pocketbooks. I’m not sure if this is true of where you live, but where I live, second hand shops are popping up everywhere and are “trendy,” and online stores, such as ThredUp, Poshmark, and Tradesy make clothes shopping guilt-free (or at least less guilty).
  2. Buy local – I confess I love the convenience of Amazon Prime, but when I think about all those separate truck deliveries to my house, I cringe–quite literally. Not all, but much of what I buy on Amazon can be bought at a local store in my immediate area, whether it’s a lawn tool or vegetable. Buying local produce is always better for you and the planet. Given the two little bears I have living with me, I used to buy fresh berries all year round, regardless of where they were grown. However, a few years ago, I stayed my hand as it hovered above the blueberries grown in Peru being offered to me two miles from my home. I couldn’t stomach the carbon footprint attached to those berries, and let’s face it, how fresh could they be after traveling that distance?
  3. Use earth-friendly cleaning products – I made this change over a decade ago and admit the effectiveness of some natural, biodegradable products wasn’t great 10+ years ago. However, there are many more choices available today, and most are equally effective as their chemical-laden, toxic counterparts. The one area where natural products lags is in the clothes washing realm. I have found Method laundry projects the most effective out of the natural options, but even if you don’t give up your Tide or Shout, but you switch out everything else, you’ve still done a lot to be kinder to Mother Earth.
  4. Buy organic and sustainable – whether it’s organic produce, organically grown pastured meat or sustainably-made clothing. Growing cotton uses a lot of water, which isn’t great, but if you buy organic cotton clothing or bedding, at least you have helped reduce the amount of toxic pesticides that leach into our soil and groundwater. The same goes with organic produce. And the more of us that buy organic, the more stores will buy from organic farmers, the more farmers will switch to growing organically, and so on and so on.
  5. Leave your car at home – Walking and biking offer so many health benefits–both physical and psychological, and they obviously reduce your impact on the environment. You probably don’t plan to bike to visit a loved one who lives 30 miles away, but biking or walking to get takeout or to dine at your favorite restaurant (post pandemic), and walking or biking to your local movie theater, ice-cream shop or wine bar benefits your health, the health of your community and the health of our planet.

Please join me in honoring our shared rock, our shared home, by committing to make one positive change today. Every one of us can make a difference, and every bit helps.

Be well!

 

Chocolate ganache tart

 

 

What could me more appropriate for starting up my blog again than a recipe involving chocolate? This tart is super easy to make, and will win you cheers and accolades. It’s been my go-to dessert for the past 4-5 months since I have a lot of chocolate lovers in my life. Added bonus: At least in my case, it’s made from pantry staples. It’s also simple to make this dessert vegan by subbing coconut oil for the butter and using vegan chocolate chips (Enjoy Life‘s are my favorite).

I slightly modified this recipe from one that was in last year’s holiday issue of Bon Appétit–replacing the 2 cups of heavy cream with 2 cups of coconut cream. I’m dairy averse as you may recall, and using coconut cream instead of regular cream makes for a lighter dessert that doesn’t sit in your stomach like a 5-lb weight after you’re done eating.

 

Ingredients

Crust:

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 1/2 cups nuts (e.g., walnuts, pecans, almonds)

6 Tbsp evaporated cane juice (sugar)

3/4 tsp sea salt

Ganache:

12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 cups coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature cut into 6 pieces

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

 

Preparation

Lightly grease a 12-inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Cut a circle of parchment paper for the bottom.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Preparing the crust: Combine nuts, sugar and butter in a food processor until the mixture begins to clump together and is the consistency of coarse sand. Empty into the prepared tart pan and using your hands, press firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake in the center of your oven until the crust turned a golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool.

Preparing the ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the coconut cream or milk in a small saucepan until it just begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the chocolate. Let it sit, undisturbed for 5 minutes. Add butter chunks and vanilla and mix with a heatproof rubber spatula until you get a smooth, glossy mixture. Scrape it into the crust, and smooth out any bubbles using the tip of the spatula. Place the tart in the fridge, uncovered, until set–about 2 hours.

To serve, carefully remove the tart from the pan, sprinkle it with flaky sea salt (Maldon’s Sea Salt Flakes are great!), and cut with a hot knife.

Enjoy!

 

 

Hello, again

Well, hi there.

It’s been nearly a year since I last blogged, although if you follow me on Instagram (@eatwellwithmoira) you will see that I’m still posting photos of food and bits of life. Without getting into all the yucky details, I want to share that last year was the most stressful and challenging year of my life for emotional and logistical reasons, luckily not for health reasons.

One message that kept coming into my head, after suddenly finding myself without my partner of 20 years, and raising my two children on my own, was the age-old expression: If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Okay, seriously now… When life truly gives you lemons, those lemons usually sit in your fruit basket rotting, because for at least a brief while, you are so lost or panicked dealing with the new paradigm and day-to-day demands, that lemonade is the last thing on your mind.

Once I’d made it through the roughest patch, I thought about starting to share some recipes, and essentially just picking up where I left off without any explanation. But that’s not me… I don’t just pretend everything is rosy when it’s bleak, or pretend I’m feeling positive when I’m really feeling sad, angry or frightened. And although I’m through the worst of it, I think there’s a lot more value in me sharing my experience in an honest, straightforward way. For the vast majority of us, our lives don’t always go as planned. Some of us handle things better than others. Some of us learn to handle challenges better over time. Some of us may always be challenged.

Just when I started seeing the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel and a clear path forward, COVID-19 arrived. The impact to work, my children, etc. resulting from the pandemic, has added to the stress I’m still dealing with in my new life paradigm, while working more hours, sorting out my finances and raising two children on my own. I experienced a brief, this can’t be happening now moment, and for a split second I wanted to throw up my hands, throw myself face down on the sofa, and later, move to a remote corner of the globe.

Instead, it made me think I want to share my situation with friends and followers. I want you to know I’ve endured a lot of pain and uncertainty, but I recognize many people are going through what I am, and that whatever pain and uncertainty are relative. Millions of people around the world aren’t just struggling with a new paradigm; they literally fighting every day for their very existence. Even people who, like me, enjoy a safe and comfortable life are now enduring added stress and uncertainty, and many are experiencing the pain of losing loved ones to complications from the virus. We are all stressed by the pandemic, and these are seriously difficult times for many people. But now is the time, more than ever, for us to have compassion for others. It’s also the time to share information about health–not just healthy eating and cooking but emotional health, and to share delicious, fun recipes. Let’s be honest, most of us are spending a lot more time at home, not eating out at all or eating out far less, and we’re cut off from the face-to-face social interactions that play a key role in our emotional well being. More and more research is showing the connection between emotional health and physical health, so I would like to share information on what you can do to stay healthy, incorporating what has worked for me over the past year.

What are the basics to trying to stay healthy during this time?

  1. Eat a nutrient-dense diet. Yes, I have upped my intake of Vitamin C (and D3 on the days I can’t get outside or its cloudy), and I have my arsenal of propolis (general immune booster) and Enzyme Defense (attacks proteins in a virus) at the ready, but nothing can replace a nutrient-dense, balanced diet. Of course, many of us are craving carbs and carb-laden comfort foods because we’re stressed, but those only aggravate our health and wreak havoc on our hormone and immune systems, so try to limit them to an occasional treat.
  2. Get a good night of sleep–7 to 8 hours. I admit, I’ve binge-watched some Netflix and Prime Video series just to keep my mind off other things, but I also admit I feel the knockdown effects of too little sleep and less-than-relaxing plot lines the next day.
  3. Wear a mask. All the reports said not to at the start of the outbreak, and that was likely to prevent people from hoarding them, but now we know one of the reasons Japan has handled the crisis better than others is because 80 percent of Japan’s population is wearing a mask. From what I’ve been reading, while the N95 masks are the best, even surgical or homemade masks provide some protection.
  4. Don’t touch your face and wash your hands throughout the day–really wash them for 20-30 seconds with soap.
  5. Move your body. Exercise boosts your mood, lowers stress levels and improves your sleep. Make sure you are getting at least 40 minutes of exercise at least four days a week. It doesn’t need to be 40 consecutive minutes, and there are many great online sources supplying workouts you can easily do at home. (I just tried a great one from Tracy Anderson Instagrammed by Goop this Wednesday!) Simple exercises you can do at home even if you don’t have weights or benches include pushups, planks, sit-ups, mountain climbers, leg lifts and wall chairs.
  6. Manage your stress. People have been telling me to manage my stress for years, and aside from the stress-reducing aspect of physical exercise, I have ignored them for years to my detriment. There are countless ways to help manage stress these days, and most of them are simple, easy to learn and free.
    • Introduce a simple intentional breathing exercise into your day–closing your eyes, slowing down and deepening your breath, holding your breath after you inhale, and observing your breath. It might take a few tries to get the right rhythm, but once you do, you’ll find it incredibly relaxing.
    • Take a few minutes each morning to acknowledge or write down what you’re grateful for. I had implemented a gratitude practice with my kids at dinnertime, but from what I’m reading, the greatest benefit comes when you do this in the morning or at whatever represents the start of your day. Once again, science is proving that a gratitude practice will make you a happier person.
    • Introduce mindfulness into your life. Having never previously taken the time to understand and develop a practice of mindfulness, even during my personal chaos last year, the added stress from the pandemic was the push I needed. I’m currently reading a wonderful, practical book by a professor friend, Dr Shauna Shapiro, called “Good Morning, I Love You.” I think it speaks to everyone regardless of his or her unique life experiences, and Shapiro shares valuable insights and practical tools for helping you use mindfulness to improve your outlook on life and how you navigate through it.
    • Meditate–whether it’s a simple quieting of the mind and focus inward or something more official like transcendental meditation, the benefits are proven and the time well spent. There are many free sources for guided meditations online if you don’t know where to start and can’t take a physical class due to current social distancing measures.

Look for other simple ways to make your current experience easier or more joyful. For example, the Shelter order in California hasn’t stopped the construction workers coming who are completely renovating the home next door to mine and my home office. After trying to juggle homeschooling and work against a background of hammering and belt-sanding (think unrelenting dentist’s drill), I invested in a pair of noise canceling headphones. They don’t block all the noise, but they definitely add a measure of quiet and peace that allows me to be more productive and feel more calm.

I also took up painting again. It’s a mental expression through physical work, and incredibly rewarding for me. Find something old or new and/or creative to do that you enjoy and that takes your mind off of work, the kids, the pandemic, etc.

Involve your kids in cooking–either in helping prepare meals or just cooking fun healthy treats. Savor the extra face time you have with family members, and be mindful that this difficult time affects people differently. As I’m always saying to my kids, “live your life with kindness and compassion.”

Here’s to your health–emotional and physical!

 

 

Have you ever visited a place for the first time, and instantly felt an affinity for it? Paris was like that for me… I had read at least a dozen books, both non-fiction and novels, about Paris, but when I finally visited the City of Lights–at the age of 32, I almost felt at home. Paris remains my favorite city in the world, but after spending just 36 hours in Buenos Aires, I’m in love with it, too. Of course, both cities should be on anyone’s bucket list, and many of us will be lucky enough to visit these cities multiple times in our lifetime.

Here comes the caveat… I visited Buenos Aires from São Paulo, where I’ve been living for the past year. I am not a city girl. I am a country girl, and despite São Paulo’s many wonderful attributes (which I’ll blog about soon), it has been challenging for me to live in a place that is so massive, so dense (population, design, energy), and with the worst traffic I’ve ever experienced, and this coming from the girl who’s lived in London and Manhattan and who has visited Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Nearly 3 million people live in Buenos Aires, but the city still seems incredibly open, with its wide boulevards, wide sidewalks, bicycle lanes and many parks. The food is nothing short of amazing, and the service impeccable. It offers a lot of the Latin experience but with a distinctly European flair.

My husband and I went for our anniversary, but could only manage one night, traveling in one day and out the next. We chose to walk everywhere so that we could really get to know and appreciate the city. We walked about 10 miles the first day, ate an amazing dinner at Proper then went to see the Rojo Tango Show at Hotel Faena. Because we only had one night, we spent up for the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt in Recoleta (first photo), which is lovely and grand with a beautiful courtyard between the two buildings on the site. Even if you don’t stay in the Palacio Duhau when you visit Buenos Aires, do go for brunch, lunch, or a cocktail.

We didn’t visit the museums, which I plan to do next time I go (should I get that lucky), but we shopped the cute boutiques in Palermo Soho (great for leather goods or the coated skinny jeans I’m wearing below!), toured the Japanese gardens, walked around the landmark building in Puerto Madero and visited the famous Sunday flea market in San Telmo.

 

 

The two biggest surprises for us: 1) how safe we felt; and 2) how many people speak English.  The hotel passed out a flyer on street safety when they heard we were going to walk across town, but the flyer only cautioned against pickpockets. Homes and apartment buildings look just like they do in most cities in the U.S., only with more interesting architecture in my opinion. They don’t all have massive spiked or electrified walls with guards behind bulletproof glass, and/or double gated entryways like in São Paulo. Lots of locals were walking around us, with seemingly carefree attitudes. We expected more people to speak English in Buenos Aires compared with São Paulo since Buenos Aires is a major holiday travel destination. However, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that everyone we encountered, from the bellhop at the hotel to the random taxi or Uber driver to the person clearing our dishes in the restaurant to the sales clerk in the boutique, spoke very good English.

If your plans to take you to South America, either for work or vacation, make sure Buenos Aires is part of your itinerary, and hopefully you’ll have more than 36 hours to spend there!

 

Green powerhouse drink

 

This post is to share one of my favorite green smoothie drinks, but first, I want to report back on another morning ritual drink I’ve incorporated into my life.

If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me post my current celery juice “practice.” With all the recent hype about the wonders of celery juice (e.g., anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, cancer fighting, etc.), I naturally wanted to see if the hype had merit.

I’ve been drinking it first thing in the morning nearly every day for the past 2-3 months, and I have to say, I feel healthier. I almost never get sick in the conventional sense, such as getting a cold, flu or stomach bug, so I can’t say whether I think it’s improving my overall immunity. However, my skin seems clearer (I’m prone to getting roughness on my cheeks or small bumps on my upper arms), my seborrheic dermatitis lessens, and I just feel better–stronger and more energized. Yes, this is just anecdotal evidence from one person, but combined with what the research suggests, a lot of other people’s anecdotal experience, and the fact that it costs next to nothing to make, I recommend trying it for at least several weeks to see if you notice improvements, too.

I can’t say it tastes delicious, but if you haven’t tried it yet, I can tell you that you will get used to the taste. And if you drink it really cold, you will notice the taste less. So I nearly always start my day with about 6 oz of celery juice, and try to hold off on breakfast for at least 30 minutes. When I want to feel really energized, and since I’m still on a quest to incorporate greens into nearly every breakfast, I like to follow with this powerhouse drink and an egg.

This smoothie drink does tastes delicious and gives you several serving of fruits and vegetables in a glass, along with a healthy dose of Vitamins A, C and K (K is important for preventing osteoporosis, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of several cancers, including breast, colorectal and kidney) from the collard greens. Romaine, although low in fiber, is high Vitamins A, K and C as well as folate. Pears and apples both provide dietary fiber.

If you alternate this drink with my green paleo pancakes, you will supply your body with a lot of vitamins, minerals and fiber important for achieving good health. In short, you will do your body a lot of good!

 

Ingredients (for 2)

1/2 a pear, core removed

1/2 an apple, core removed

2-3 leaves of romaine lettuce

2-3 leaves of collard greens or chard

1 banana

2 stalks celery

1/4 of a lemon, seeds removed

ice

Optional

2 tbsp fresh parsley

or

1 tbsp fresh mint

 

Preparation

Blend everything together in a high-powered blender (e.g., Vitamix) until smooth. Add ice to suit your personal taste of how cold you like your drinks.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

This cake has become my family’s favorite easy-bake, easy-to-make, cake. It’s essentially banana bread masquerading as banana cake, but the cake shape makes it seem more special. It’s crazy moist, contains very little added sugar (because how much sugar do you need with all those bananas in there?!), and it’s a great way to use ripe and/or spotty bananas. We buy tons of bananas in Brazil because they are super inexpensive. However, I don’t even like raw bananas, so I literally buy 20 bananas a week to use in my Green Paleo Pancakes, Green Power Shake, oatmeal pancakes, breads, cakes and muffins.

I have ordered Bolo de Banana several times in Brazil, and while I’ve always found the cakes here overly sweet (not to mention full of gluten), I like how they incorporate so much banana into their recipes. So I tinkered with my gluten- and dairy-free banana muffin recipe to come up with this recipe. It uses 4-6 bananas, and instead of blending the bananas with the wet ingredients, I only mash the bananas a little with a fork so there are lots of chunks of banana in the final cake. Topping the cake with slices of banana makes the cake look more festive, and the banana caramelizes in the baking making it taste better.

 

Ingredients

1/2 Tbsp butter or oil

1 scant cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I like this brand)

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp almond flour

1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar*

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2-4 ripe bananas

1-2 yellow bananas

2 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup plant-based milk (I like almond or coconut)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

*I’ve used as little as 1/4 cup of sugar, and the cake is still delicious!

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease and flour a standard cake tin. Place the tin on a piece of parchment paper, draw a circle using the base of the tin as a guide, cut out the circle and set it inside on the bottom of the tin. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until there are no lumps and everything looks thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Peel the 2-4 ripe bananas and mash with a fork until broken down but still very lumpy in consistency. You need 1-1/2 cups for this recipe, but the recipe is very forgiving if you have slightly less or slightly more. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Whisk in the oil and milk. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and using a rubber spatula, fold until combined, but do not over stir. (I’ve read and been told that you can’t over stir anything made with gluten-free flour. However, in my personal experience, particular when baking cakes, one should never over stir.) Pour the batter into the prepared tin and give the tin a little jiggle to evenly distribute the batter.

Carefully slice the remaining 1-2 less ripe bananas into strips approximately 3/8-inch in thickness. Depending on the size of your banana(s), you may only need one banana. I aim for three to four strips. Lay the strips on top of the batter, and pop the tin in the center of the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

My son asked if we could make scones this week, and I realized we haven’t made any in the past several months. Have you noticed that at times, you completely forget to make something you really like and/or something your family loves? Do you find that sometimes, a favorite dish just falls from memory for no particular reason?

Luckily, I had an orange, some dark chocolate and all my regular gluten-free flours on hand, so we make these super flavorful and delicious scones. These are very similar to my orange current scones, but the dark chocolate chunks make them more of a treat for my kids.

 

Ingredients

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled

1/3 cup almond (or other) nut milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

Finely grated zest of one orange

6 Tbsp of fresh-squeezed orange juice

1-1/4 cup almond flour

1-1/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I like this brand)

1/3-1/2 cup evaporated cane juice

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips or 1/3 cup of a dairy-free dark chocolate bar cut into small chunks

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk all the dry ingredients, except for the chocolate, together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the wet ingredients until well blended. Pour the wet mixture into the dry using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides. Fold the wet and dry mixtures until just blended. Fold in the chocolate chips or chunks. Using the spatula, scoop out the dough onto a lightly floured cutting board or directly onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Gently pat the dough into a disc shape, approximately 1-inch thick (flouring your hands if necessary to prevent the dough from sticking). Using a chef’s knife, cut the disc into 6-8 pieces (3-4 cuts). Carefully separate the pieces roughly 1-2 inches apart.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a light golden brown color develops on the tops and edges. Remove and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be stores in an airtight container for 2-3 days, once the scones are completely cooled.

You can add a little honey or raspberry jam to these, but they’re so flavorful and yummy on their own, they don’t need anything extra.

Enjoy! 

 

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