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Salmon regularly gets rated as one of the top 10 foods in terms of nutrition and health benefits. Salmon is one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which studies have shown decrease inflammation, and reduce risk of heart disease and cancer. Salmon also boasts high levels of vitamins critical to maintaining the healthy brain functioning, including B-6 and B-12, as well as potassium, selenium and niacin.

I’m constantly trying to invent ways to get my kids to eat more salmon (important for those growing brains!). They love it in sushi, but I don’t trust myself selecting, buying and preparing raw fish, and we don’t eat out often enough. I regularly put smoked salmon in crepes because my kids will eat anything wrapped in a crepe, but when you want a very tasty dish that’s a bit more sophisticated, this makes a good choice.

I can’t remember where this recipe came from… It remains a dog-eared page torn from a now nameless magazine, but it remains one of our favorites. Quick and easy to prepare, you can’t go wrong serving this dish, and you can dress it up or down.

 

Ingredients

4 fresh salmon fillets (6-8 oz per person)

3 tbsp light soy sauce

3 tbsp dark soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime

3 tsp honey

1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped

1-inch piece of fresh ginger, finely grated or chopped

1 package soba noodles (cooked per package instructions)

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

 

Preparation

Whisk soy sauce, lime juice, garlic and ginger in a small bowl. Place the salmon fillets in a glass baking dish and spoon the soy mixture over evenly. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Heat a grill or turn on broiler function in the oven.

Boil a pot of lightly salted water for the noodles. When the water comes to a boil, add in the noodles and cook per the instructions on the packet (usually 5 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water. Toss with the 2 tablespoons of sesame oil.

Remove the salmon from the marinade and place in a baking dish. Drizzle each piece with 1/2 tablespoon of honey and grill for approximately 10 minutes or until the salmon is just cooked and beginning to flake. Place the marinade in a small saucepan along with the remaining honey and cook over medium heat until reduced and slightly thickened.

Serve the salmon on top or alongside the noodles with a drizzle of the marinade.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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I did not drop off the face of the earth, but it has been ages since I’ve posted anything here. The past few months have challenged me physically as well as emotionally. Making the decision to move from my comfortable life in northern California to the massive city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in order to support my husband’s work was incredibly difficult. Convincing the children to go along with the decision was equally difficult. Packing up a significant part of our home (where the expression “pack-rat” got redefined) took far more time than I could have imagined. Getting all the paperwork in order and loose ends tied up–bank accounts, visas, residence permits, nearly drove us insane. Finding homes for some of our beloved pets–since we only brought two to Brazil, I found particularly difficult, and at the end, heartbreaking, since I consider our animals family.

Fortunately, the expat community in Sao Paulo, although relatively small, is wonderfully supportive, and Brazilians in general are friendly and kind. We live adventure nearly every day, and grow from it–personally and as world citizens. On top of requiring me to learn another language, the move has required dietary changes, such as regular servings of pineapple, papaya and watermelon instead of my daily helpings of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Chard remains elusive, and rice and beans abound. My cooking has not been spectacular, but a few dishes, and some of my travels definitely warrant sharing.

This dish I made back home, but never got around to posting until now. I call this my “breakfast (or lunch) of champions” because it is full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, and it’s packed with flavor. In reality, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend eating bacon right before you head out for a 6-kilometer run. But if you have an important meeting, need to run a few hours worth of errands, or are going on a big hike and want sustained energy for 4-5 hours, this dish is perfect.

Like many people, my body doesn’t tolerate most types of beans as well as I would like, but garbanzo beans appear to be the exception, and garbanzo bean flour is the main ingredient in the crepes. I couldn’t be more thankful, because garbanzo beans are a great source of insoluble fiber (important for keeping our colons healthy!), protein, and several vitamins and minerals including iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium and folate.

 

Ingredients

For the crepes, whisk together the following until you get a smooth, runny batter consistency:

1 cup sprouted garbanzo bean flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

3/4-1 cup water

Pinch of sea salt

1 tbsp of avocado oil, plus more for the pan

 

Preparation

Swirl a little oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Pour in half of the batter and swirl the pan gently to spread the batter evenly across the bottom of the pan. Cook until set and the bottom is just starting to turn golden brown–approximately 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip the crepe over and cook another 2 minutes.

Repeat. This recipe makes 4-6 crepes depending on how thick you make them.

 

Ingredients

For the wrap I call “breakfast of champions,” I place the following ingredients on each crepe and fold in half or in thirds for serving.

2-3 strips of bacon, cooked

1 egg, fried sunny side up

Two leaves of curly kale (tough stocks removed, and lightly braised)

1/2 an avocado, peeled and sliced

Coarse-ground sea salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

This combination tastes insanely good and flavorful, but you can experiment with whatever you like. I cook the bacon in a cast-iron pan first. After removing the cooked bacon, I drain off the excess fat and lightly braise the kale leaves in the same pan so they pick up all the delicious bits and pieces left from cooking the bacon.

Note: These crepes are super easy and quick to make, but you can double or triple the crepe batter recipe and make a batch so you have them handy. Just be sure to put a sheet of parchment paper between crepes and store them in the fridge in an airtight container. Please note that they are best fresh and warm, as can stiffen slightly if refrigerated or left out for any length of time.

Enjoy!

 

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I’m in the midst of moving, surrounded by boxes, so I won’t spend too much time writing here. However, several people who follow me on Instagram have asked me to share my recipe for the green paleo pancakes I’ve shared pics of several times.

My sister made these for me while I was visiting her in May. I tweaked the recipe just a bit for better consistency (sorry, Sis!), and more consistent results. Several other bloggers have shared green pancake recipes, but many include small amounts of greens, where the greens are used more to color the pancakes as opposed to providing real nutritional value. I’m always looking for more ways to incorporate greens in my mornings, and if you’re like me, you can only handle so many green shakes.

These pancakes blend up easily in any high-powered blender (e.g., Vitamix). They’re packed with protein, fiber, minerals and anti-oxidants. These pancakes also use tiger nut flour (made from tubers, not nuts), which is an excellent source of prebiotics–the energy source for the good bacteria in our guts which keeps our health humming.

 

Ingredients (per person)

1 ripe banana

1 organic egg

2 leaves of leafy greens (such as chard, collards, kale)

1/8 cup almond flour

1/8 cup tigernut flour

1 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

Pinch sea salt

 

Preparation

Blend everything together in a high-powered blender.

Put a non-stick pan or well-seasoned cast-iron pan on medium to medium-high heat. Melt a little coconut oil or butter in the pan, and pour the pancake batter in approximately 4-inch diameter circles. Cook until browned and any bubbles around the edges have popped, roughly 3-4 minutes. Flip over and cook another 3-4 minutes until browned. Place on a plate and allow to sit at least 3 minutes. (The pancakes will continue “cooking” while they sit.)

Serve with raspberries or sliced strawberries. These pancakes are plenty sweet due to the banana, but if you want a little more sweetness, drizzle raw honey over them. Do not use maple syrup. As much as I love maple syrup, the flavor does not go with the pancake!

Makes 3-4 pancakes.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Year! I hope your holiday–no matter how you celebrated it, was merry and bright, and that you’re looking forward to embracing a new year.

Depending on how you lean politically, you may feel a bit of dread as you look to this new year. Or you may feel the pressure to make big plans and set high goals for yourself. We expect so much of ourselves these days–much more than other people expect of us if we stop and really think about it.

Lately, I have been chastising myself for not posting more recipes or product recommendations or summaries of scientific findings. But between caring for my children and serving as the interim executive director of my foundation (link), I haven’t had time for any of it except snapping off photos of some of my meals and daily adventures.

When the new year rolled around, my first inclination was to set targets on how many posts I should publish, how many projects I should complete for the foundation, how many miles I should run weekly, etc. But after some careful thinking, I decided that what my main goal should be is to slow down, ease up, be gentler on myself and more present in the lives of those I love. The “shoulding” is a slow killer. We are not superhuman–none of us.

I don’t want to appear sexist, but the “shoulding” problem appears to affect women more than men. If men do only one job, and they do it well, they are often generally satisfied with themselves. But women seem more prone to setting unrealistic targets across multiple areas of their lives, and this isn’t healthy or sustainable. The woman you may know who raises perfect, well-adjusted kids, stays amazingly fit, produces incredible creations from her kitchen, runs a company, serves on a bunch of non-profit boards, and stays up to date on current affairs, is paying the price in some way. Maintaining that level of achievement and busy-ness takes its toll. We are all just human, and the day holds only so many hours.

Doing too much makes us prone to all sorts of health problems that can present in an immediate and obvious way, like a cold or flu, or slowly wear down our defenses, making us vulnerable to more serious illnesses.

So during this winter season (at least for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere), when you suddenly think of one more thing you could/should be doing, stop. Make a cup of tea, take a leisurely stroll through your neighborhood, read a fun article in a meaningless magazine, and slow yourself down.

While the rain and snow do their thing outside your window, try making golden tumeric milk. It will warm and nourish your body and boost your immunity. Tumeric contains curcumin, a very strong antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. In fact, a friend told me over the holiday, that she was able to avoid a costly surgery for her elderly dog, after the dog tore its ACL, by feeding it high doses of curcumin, glucosamine (cushions bones at joints) and hyaluronic acid (collagen building).

This milky tea takes minutes to make, yet has lasting benefits. Depending on where you live, you can buy fresh tumeric from your natural grocer.

 

Ingredients

1 cup almond or other non-dairy milk

1 thumb-size piece of fresh tumeric, peeled and roughly chopped

Several grinds of fresh-ground pepper*

1 tbsp maple syrup or sweetener of your choice

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

A healthy pinch of ground cinnamon

*Whether you’re making tumeric milk or taking tumeric supplements, make sure you eat black pepper at the same time. Black pepper contains piperine which significantly increases (2000%!) the absorption of curcumin. Curcumin is also fat soluble so always consume it with a meal or a drink like this one that contains healthy fats.

 

Preparation

Put the first three ingredients in a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, and blend until deep gold in color and frothy. Pour the milk mixture into a small saucepan and heat just until hot. Do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in the maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour into your favorite cup and sip away.

Enjoy!

 

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I’ve loved caesar salad since my days wearing Sears Toughskin jeans and saltwater sandals. But the high calorie count with minimal nutrition of conventional caesar salads started to severely limit the number of appearances the salad has made in my life over the past couple decades… Until now.

This kale caesar salad is my new obsession. I first stumbled upon the salad at a local juice shop, Urban Remedy. I immediately fell in love with their vegan caesar salad, but couldn’t stomach the price or all the plastic packaging they serve the salad in (and the dressing, and the chickpeas, and the “cheese”), so I decided to figure out how to make my own version.

This salad contains the best of everything–crunchy romaine with the added heartiness and health benefits of raw kale, fiber and protein packed roasted chickpeas instead of nutrition-empty croutons from bread, a delicious and creamy caesar dressing that doesn’t use egg or dairy, and “faux parmesan” cheese.

I eat this salad at least three times a week now. It’s so delicious, tastes rich, never gets dull, and gives me a big boost of energy without making me feel too full, ever. It takes a little work to get the various components ready–like roasting the chickpeas and making the dressing, but once you do, you can store the extras in airtight containers in the fridge and prepare future salads in just minutes.

 

Ingredients*

Greens:

4-5 kale leaves, washed, ribs removed, and chopped into 1/4-1/2-inch strips

4-5 romaine lettuce heart leaves, washed and chopped into 1/4-1/2-inch strips

Chickpea “croutons”:

1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans (I like this brand)

3/4 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Parmesan “cheese”:

1/4 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup raw hulled hemp seeds

2 tbsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp raw hulled sunflower seeds

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

Caesar dressing:

2 tbsp capers (vegan version) or 7 anchovies (jarred)

1 clove garlic crushed

5 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp worcesterhire

1 tsp Dijon

1 cup raw cashews

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2/3 cup olive oil

filtered water to thin

*The ingredients are for a salad for 1-2 people, but the dressing will make enough for 5-6 salads depending on size and how dressed you like your salads.

 

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375F (convection, if you have it).

Rinse and drain the chickpeas in a wire mesh colander. In a bowl, toss the chickpeas with the cumin, 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Spread the chickpeas out on an edged cooking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes or until they start to brown nicely. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a food processor, pulse together 1/4 cup cashews and the seeds from the “cheese” ingredients until coarsely chopped. Toss together with the remaining “cheese” ingredients and set aside.

In a food processor or high-powered blender, combine all the ingredients for the dressing except the water. Slowly add in a little water at a time to get a consistency you like. I like mine very thick, but you want to be able to toss the salad with the dressing and not have it stick in a lump.

Put the greens in a bowl, add in a little dressing and toss to coat. Taste and adjust amount of dressing as desired. Add in a handful of roasted chickpeas and a couple tablespoons of “cheese” per serving, and toss to coat. Serve immediately, although I find a good tossing helps soften and “break down” the kale, which I like.

Happy eating your greens!

 

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This is that salad–the one I can eat several times a week and never tire of. It somehow manages to perfectly balance the hardy structure of the kale with the silkiness of the spinach, and the chewiness of the cranberries with the toasted crunch and nuttiness of the pumpkin seeds, all with the perfect combination of sweet and salty.

I also love knowing that everything in this salad packs serious nutritional punch! Low calorie, high fiber kale for Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates, which help lower the risk of several major types of cancer, and 45 different flavonoids for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, and the list goes on. Pumpkin seeds for heart healthy magnesium, immune boosting zinc and tryptophan for more restful sleep. Cranberries for Vitamin C, fiber and manganese as well as proanthocyanidins (PACs) for helping prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and protecting against certain types of stomach ulcers. And spinach for niacin and zinc, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K and a host of minerals. I know that if you’re a vegan or purest, you will likely take issue with the cheese, but I consider it a key component of this recipe, so let me know if you know of a vegan manchego cheese!!

I also appreciate how this salad can be made a little in advance, and still tastes great. If anything, the spinach and kale get even softer and more delicious when allowed to react longer with the dressing.

I hope you love this salad as much as I do!

 

Ingredients

(listed per person in case you’re just wanting a salad for yourself for lunch)

3 leaves dino kale, washed and ribs removed

1 large handful baby spinach

3 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup dried cranberries

3 tbsp aged manchego cheese, sliced into little “sticks” or shaved*

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp good quality Sherry vinegar

1/2 tsp honey

Kosher salt

Fresh-ground pepper

*I like a 12-month aged manchego made from raw sheep’s milk.

 

Preparation

Place the pumpkin seeds in a small oven-proof baking dish or ramekin and toast for 10-12 minutes or until you hear the seeds “popping.” Remove and let cool.

Meanwhile, whisk the olive oil, honey and vinegar in a medium-size bowl until completely blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Slice the kale leaves into roughly 1/4-inch strips and add to the dressing. Toss to coat. Roughly chop the baby spinach leaves and add to the kale, tossing to coat. Add in the cranberries, seeds and manchego, toss, adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

 

Enjoy!

 

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Feeling tired too much of the time? Feeling pretty good in the morning, but fighting a serious slump in the afternoon between 2:00pm and 4:00pm? I’ve experienced days where I thought I could literally fall asleep standing up–and it usually hit me around 3:30pm. It’s one of the main reasons I did food-sensitivity testing, “went Paleo”, gave up gluten (95% of the time), etc. In the end, I think I was getting exhausted in the afternoon because my energy stores were simply too depleted by that time. My body essentially had nothing to draw on. I have taken specific and deliberate measures to change the situation, but I still have some pretty sluggish afternoon moments.

So many of us find ourselves overstretched on our commitments and overtaxed on everything else, especially in America where most jobs don’t abide by the 9-5 rule. Whether real or perceived, many people I know feel they’re expected to work 70+-hour weeks. Commutes have become longer and more stressful. I think mothers suffer the most… In many cases, even if they’re career women, they’re expected to work full-time and take care of the kids and the home, participate in school, etc. And moms who have quit or taken a break from their careers aren’t exempt. They’re often expected to volunteer significant hours at school, serve on non-profit boards, plan fundraisers, while raising the kids and taking care of the home.

Daily and chronic fatigue can result from many things, and what other expect of us and what we expect of ourselves is another discussion, but consider these common, relatively easy to remedy, causes of tiredness:

Dehydration

One of the most common causes of fatigue, is also one of the easiest to remedy. When your body doesn’t have enough fluid in it, your blood thickens making it harder for your body to get oxygen to your cells for ultimate functioning. Aim for 8-11 cups a day of filtered water, herbal tea or natural coconut water. Just take care to avoid too much caffeine (the relatively small amount in green tea is fine) or caffeinated drinks enjoyed too late in the day where they could disrupt your sleep. And beware of drinks containing too much sugar–including many juices and some smoothies, which will only cause your insulin level to spike and your energy to crash.

I like energy-boosting teas, such as Yogi Tea’s Sweet Tangerine Positive Energy with black tea, green mate, ashwagandha root and ginseng.

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Snacks

Snack on whole foods that provide quick energy along with plenty of nutrients. For example, pumpkin seeds give you…. I’m not a huge fan of seeds, but spiced pumpkin seeds are delicious, and offer just enough saltiness and zing to make them practically addictive. Try the recipe below from the ZenBelly Cookbook. A banana is a perfect mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up snack. In addition to three natural sugars, bananas contain fiber so you get an instant and sustained boost of energy.

Unless you’re strictly Paleo, be sure to consume a healthy portion of whole grains at lunch–barley, millet and quinoa are all good choices (unless, of course, you have an allergy to quinoa like I developed three years ago). Whole grains offer a sustained source of energy.

Have a low-sugar and nutrient-dense bar or slice of bread on hand for when he hunger pains strike or you start to feel drowsy. I like to make my own food, so I rarely buy “energy” bars, but there are some good ones available now that provide plenty of protein and fiber without a ton of sugar. I prefer to have a slice of grain-free bread such as the “loaded banana bread” from the ZenBelly Cookbook. I’ll be posting my modified recipe in the next few days.

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Sleep and body function

If you constantly feel overly tired, consider getting tested for thyroid dysfunction or hormonal imbalances. Avoid any screens at least an hour before you aim to go to sleep or buy yourself a pair of amber lenses that block blue light (and use them!). Also be sure to fall asleep by 10:30pm–latest, to work with your circadian rhythms for improved sleep and brain function.

Exercise

Make sure you get regular exercise, which studies show improves energy and sleep quality. Regular exercise also boosts mood, helps balance hormones and serves as a great stress reliever. So many people think they can’t make time for it, but exercise enables you to do more more efficiently–in other words, it uses time but actually buys you time. And even though my friends would call me a hypocrite to hear me say this, make time to relax and recharge your inner batteries.

Spiced Pepitas

Recipe from Zenbelly, although I slightly upped the amounts on all the ground spices.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds

1 tbsp lemon, orange or lime juice

3/4 tsp finely ground sea salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp chipotle powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp coconut sugar

Preparation

Preheat oven the 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Toss well to combine.

Spread on the prepared sheet and bake for 5 -7 minutes, or until the seeds become crisp and slightly puffed. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. The seeds keep for weeks, but if they lose a little crunch, you can reheat them in a 350F oven for 2-3 minutes.

Be well and full of energy!

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