Gluten Free For Good


 

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gluten-free veggie pizza

I figure if I’m going to eat pizza, I better load it up with antioxidant goodness.

Wednesday is my Grant Family Farms CSA pick-up day, so Tuesday nights are often spent making pizza or rice bowls out of the leftover odds and ends in my crisper drawer. It forces me to explore the dark corners of my fridge and make room for the new arrivals. Never one to color inside the lines, I’ve come up with some creative ways to use the tail-end of my farm-fresh food deliveries.

Beet or corn ice cream, anyone? Sweet potato tacos?

How about radicchio, mixed squash and beet pizza?

Radicchio?

Radicchio (see above) is a leafy chicory plant. Most people use it in salads, although I find it bitter. But guess what? If you cook it, the bitter taste disappears and it becomes mellow and slightly sweet. It’s wonderful stuff and according to The Journal of Nutrition, it’s also very high in antioxidants. Right up there with Swiss chard, spinach and broccoli.

Last Tuesday night I dug around in my fridge and found some radicchio, a piece of already cooked corn-on-the-cob, a beet, a small grilling onion, two roasted green chiles, and a few big chunks of delicata, crookneck and zucchini squash. I also had several garden-fresh tomatoes, all from the farm.

Radicchio on pizza? I’ll give it a try. And, how about roasted green chile, black olive, onion, corn and tomato pizza?

All super-healthy ingredients. Every veggie on this list is filled with high-quality antioxidants. That’s a good thing. Our bazillions of hard-working little cells need all the help they can get.

gluten-free antioxidant veggie pizza #1 (see above, top left corner)
what you need
1 gluten-free Udi’s thin pizza crust *
1 & 1/2 tablespoons butter (I prefer organic, pastured, full-tilt butter)
2 cloves garlic, minced
squeeze of honey (1-2 teaspoons)
1 cup thinly sliced ridacchio
1 cup mixed squash chunks (3/4 inch squares)
1 beet, washed and cut into chunks, no need to peel (3/4 inch squares)
cheese (I used a mix of 3 different kinds)

gluten-free antioxidant veggie pizza #2 (above, bottom right corner)
what you need
1 gluten-free Udi’s thin pizza crust *
1 & 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
squeeze of honey (1-2 teaspoons)
2 roasted green chiles, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
2 tomatoes chopped *
1 can sliced black olives
1/4 cup corn
1/4 cup diced onion
cheese

what you do
1. Because the beets and squash take longer to cook than the pizza itself, I like to roast them first. It also adds a nice taste to the pizza. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the prepared beets and zucchini in a medium-sized bowl and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Gently mix to cover with oil. Spread out the veggies on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast on center rack of the oven for about 15 minutes. Watch closely and flip using a spatula to make sure they’re roasted evenly. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. While the veggies are roasting, melt the butter over low heat, add the garlic and honey and stir until blended.
3. Brush the melted butter-garlic-honey blend over the pizza crust. Add the ingredients, sprinkle shredded cheese over the top and cook in 375 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
4. Cut into 4 slices and enjoy! Serves 1 or 2, depending on how hungry you are.

Melissa’s cooking notes (if you dare):

* Udi’s is a local gluten-free product company. These crusts are thin, delicious and store well in the freezer. This is one of the few pre-made, gluten-free products that I buy. I love them!

* Put the ridacchio on first so it doesn’t burn (that goes for ingredients like kale as well, they tend to cook faster than the big chunky ingredients).

* When I use tomatoes for cooking and don’t want the extra liquid, I chop them and spin them in my salad spinner to get rid of the excess moisture. Then I save the juice and use it in my homemade salad dressings.

* Photos above are the “before” versions. I dislike messing with my camera when it’s time to sit down and enjoy dinner.

Peace, love and antioxidant goodness!
Melissa

gluten-free zucchini tomato basil bake

I suppose this should be called a zucchini tomato basil au gratin, sans gluten-cootie bread-crumbs. The photo above is the uncooked version. I have a problem with making people (me included) wait to eat until I fuss with taking a photo, so I prefer taking “before” photos of my food. I’m not the best “after” photographer, anyway. It’s hard to mess up a shot of beautiful, organic apples, but easy to end up with a slimy rendition of applesauce. Know what I mean?

This is an slight adaptation of a recipe I picked up from Vegetarian Times Magazine and I love it. It’s a bit of a pain, but well worth it. The prep work prevents the juicy veggies from releasing too much moisture. Soggy is not good, firm and hearty is. We’re also into zucchini season around here, so this has been on the menu recently. It’s great with grilled fish. Absolutely divine!

gluten-free zucchini tomato basil bake
what you need

4-6 tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
3-4 medium-sized zucchinis, cut into 1/4 inch thick, long slices
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (more if you’re a garlic fan)
4 tablespoons roughly chopped kalamata olives
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

what you do
1. Drape sliced tomatoes over a colander, sprinkle with salt and let drain 45 minutes.
2. Place prepared zucchini slices on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for 45 minutes. This sweats out the excess moisture. Rinse and pat dry.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté zucchini for a few minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a plate. You’ll have to do this in batches and add a touch more oil as you go.
4. Layer half the zucchini slices in a lightly oiled baking dish. Top with half the tomatoes, then half the garlic, olives, basil and cheese. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Repeat the process with the remaining zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, olives and basil. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil (maybe 1-2 teaspoons) and top with the rest of the cheese.
5. Cover with foil and bake 10 to 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 20 to 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted, golden brown and the dish is bubbling. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.

* My son took spoonfuls of this and spread it over big slices of crusty Italian bread. He said it was amazing (not that I would know). I’m going to try a version of this as gluten-free pizza. Doesn’t that sound good?

Peace, love and veggie au gratin!
Melissa

gluten-free spinach beet zucchini pizza

Pizza — laden with roasted golden beets, zucchini and vitamin-K-packed SPINACH.

I picked up my CSA delivery box this past week and guess what I found inside?

Whoa, how did you know?

Spinach, glorious deep-green spinach. And lots of it.

I’m not complaining because it’s the best spinach on the planet. It’s just that you have to get very creative with your recipe development when you’re in the deep-end of spinach season. Beet, zucchini and spinach pizza, anyone? Trust me, this was over-the-top delicious. But, before I launch into the recipe, please humor me (or skip this part) and let me wallow in my geek-ness.

Ready?

I have a theory about hearty greens (like spinach and kale) and celiac disease and gluten-intolerance.

Celiac disease is a genetically predisposed autoimmune disease in which gluten (the main storage protein in wheat, barley and rye) wreaks havoc on the small intestine, inhibiting nutrient absorption. That’s the super-duper, shortened definition. If you want the unabridged version, leave me a comment and I’ll fill you in on anything and everything you might want to know about celiac disease and gluten-intolerance. But for now, my theory about spinach and it’s role in healing.

Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense (calorie for calorie) foods available. I bet the deep-green, leafy, organic stuff I get from Grant Family Farms is on the far-side of pharmaceutical grade. It’s packed with vitamin K – 1110% of the recommended daily value. It also contains a zillion other health-promoting nutrients, but to keep this post from becoming a thesis paper, I’m going to focus on vitamin K and celiac disease.

Without getting into the poopy (literally) details, unmanaged celiac disease can cause nutrient malabsorption. Fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), iron, folic acid and a large part of our calcium are absorbed in the proximal section (the top part) of the small intestine. That’s the area that receives the most damage when you have celiac disease. If you have a trashed small intestine and you’re not breaking down your food adequately or absorbing your nutrients efficiently, you won’t be absorbing your fats (to make a long story short). If you’re not absorbing your fats, you won’t be absorbing your fat soluble vitamins. If you’re not absorbing your fat soluble vitamins, you won’t get the full benefit of vitamin K.

This is a generality. Our bodies are amazing and we compensate in many different ways, but if you become deficient in vitamin K, your blood may not clot properly. Isn’t it interesting that our blood has this amazing ability to flow quickly throughout the body; up and down and all around? Think about it, it remains a flowing liquid. But if you cut yourself, it can become a solid within seconds. Whew, that’s a good thing. If blood didn’t clot, one pinprick could drain the entire body of all its blood. Imagine a water balloon with one tiny little hole in it. Eventually all the water would slowly drain from the balloon.

Does anyone out there bruise or bleed easily? Anyone with celiac disease? Hmmm?

Vitamin K also plays a role in the synthesis of bone proteins. Without adequate vitamin K, the bones produce a funky protein that can’t bind to the minerals that normally form bones. You see, it’s not just the calcium you need for strong bones, it’s also vitamin K (and a bunch of other things, including exercise).

Anyone with osteopenia or osteoporosis? And celiac disease? Hmmm?

One more geeky thing (maybe two) and I’ll get on to the pizza recipe. Vitamin K can also be obtained from a nonfood source. GI tract bacteria can synthesize vitamin K, but you need to have a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria for that to happen. Antibiotics also kill the vitamin K producing bacteria, so there are lots of ways to become deficient, especially if you have celiac disease.

Now, don’t go taking vitamin K supplements unless your doctor prescribes them. Fat-soluble vitamins aren’t excreted as easily as water-soluble vitamins, so the risk of toxicity is much greater. I’m a big fan of getting my nutrients from high-quality food. This kind of focus is called nutrition therapy – this is what I do and this is how I live (most of the time, anyway).

So, let thy food be thy medicine and go eat some spinach!

gluten-free, spinach, roasted beet and zucchini pizza
what you need

1 gluten-free pizza crust (I used an Udi’s pre-made thin crust on this pizza)
1 & 1/2  tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
squeeze of honey (maybe 1-2 teaspoons)
2 small golden beets, scrubbed, trimmed and chopped into 3/4 inch cubes (no need to peel)
1 zucchini, washed and chopped into 3/4 inch cubes
2 cups spinach, washed, stemmed and chopped
grated cheese (I like a mix of  shredded Parmesan, Romano and Asiago)

what you do
1. Because the beets and zucchini take longer to cook than the pizza itself, I like to roast them first. It also adds a nice taste to the pizza. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the prepared beets and zucchini in a medium-sized bowl and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Gently mix to cover with oil. Spread out the veggies on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast on center rack of the oven for about 15 minutes. Watch closely and flip using a spatula to make sure they’re roasted evenly. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. While the veggies are roasting, melt the butter over low heat, add the garlic and honey and stir until blended.
3. Brush the melted butter-garlic-honey blend over the pizza crust. Add chopped spinach first, then beets and zucchini. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top and cook in 375 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
4. Cut into 4 slices and enjoy! Serves 1 or 2, depending on how hungry you are.

* I’ve also made this pizza with red beets, but I kept the beets separate while preparing them so that everything else didn’t turn pink (not that it matters).

Udi’s is a local company. The pizza crusts are gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free and delicious. Gluten-cootie-eaters don’t even know they’re gluten-free. No apologizing, no explaining needed!

Peace, love and vitamin K!
Melissa

swamp scum smoothie

Well, that’s what it looked like. Murky, camo-green and all.

Plus, I’m hooked on alliterations, and those “s” words flowed together so well. Although I must say, swamp scum probably isn’t the most keyword-worthy phrase. Not that I’ve ever cared much about keywords. In my own blog world, anyway. If I write copy for you, I’m TOTALLY into keywords. TOTALLY.

I suppose if I’m going to take this blogging thing seriously, I should start thinking tagline options, SEO, keywords, analytics and metadata. Don’t you think? After all these years?

Nah.

Just the mention of metadata gives me brain freeze. And without the accompaniment of a huge bite of ice cream, that’s just not fun.

Okay, on to the serious business of figuring out what to do with all this spinach. I’m almost sure someone at my CSA pickup location slipped some of their spinach into my box.

Fine. If anyone can manage an abundance of spinach, it’s me. I’ll take on the challenge.

Nancy Drew meets the Green Goddess (ooh, that would have been a great title).

swamp scum smoothie
what you need

SPINACH (if you don’t have any, I’ll share), washed with stems *
1 golden beet unpeeled, scrubbed, trimmed and chopped *
1 small apple unpeeled, scrubbed and chopped *
1 cup vanilla goat yogurt
a handful of frozen cherries
a handful of pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
coconut water

what you do
1. Place all ingredients in your VitaMix and blend well. If you have a regular blender, shred the beets rather than chopping them.

* The skins of beets and apples contain all kinds of beneficial nutrients and fiber, so choose organic and leave the skin intact. Scrub well, but don’t peel. If you don’t go with organic, then you might want to get rid of the skin as it’s probably been sprayed with an assortment of icky chemicals. Spinach stems contain some nourishing goodies as well, so throw some of them into the mix.

Go forth and celebrate spinach (again and again). No complaining. This is what “eating local” is all about. Especially in Colorado.
Peace, love and green stuff!
Melissa

Spinach, spinach and more spinach

Are you having an evolutionary flashback?

Belonging to a CSA means eating according to the natural, local growing cycles. Back in the olden days, this was the only option. No avocados if you lived in Colorado. No tomatoes in the winter unless you canned them. No spinach in December.

Here in the Rocky Mountains, you can count on the possibility of snow into May (maybe longer), so June and July mean LOTS of greens (seriously, like a ton). Right now my CSA share box is overflowing with spinach. My crisper drawer is jammed. I can’t shove another leaf into it.

That’s the perceived downside to belonging to a CSA. No variety. Spinach, spinach and more spinach. Hey, we have too many options in life as it is, enjoy the simplicity. Sometimes less is more (or something like that).

Just think “primitive diet” with a contemporary twist. Spinach is our main ingredient, we simply need to resort to some creative accessorizing. How about some maple syrup to sweeten things up? Those of you who have been following this blog for any length of time might recognize a pattern here. Pure, organic maple syrup is often my answer to life’s dilemmas.

warm maple spinach salad
what you need

10 cups washed, stemmed and gently torn spinach
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1/4 cup (or more) chopped pecans
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup shredded smoked Gouda

what you do
1. Toast pecans in a small skillet over low heat until fragrant (3 to 5 minutes). Stir often. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
2. Toss spinach and cucumber in a large bowl.
3. Heat oil in small skillet over low-medium heat. Add shallot and cook 4 to 5 minutes until softened. Stir often. Don’t let the shallot burn. Add vinegar and maple syrup and increase heat until almost boiling. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Immediately pour the dressing over the spinach and cucumber. Toss well and sprinkle with cheese and toasted pecans.

Makes 4 large servings or 6 small ones.

As for the abundance of CSA spinach, if all else fails, make a bouquet-ish arrangement out of it. See photo above.

Go forth and eat spinach! Over and over.
Melissa
P.S. Cid, I’m counting on you to set me straight on my cheese choice. I’m guessing there’s a more fashionable accessory than smoked Gouda.

CSA Season begins (hallelujah)

Farm-fresh food lovers, start your engines (salad-spinners, blenders, stovetops, VitaMixes, ice-cream makers, juicers, dehydrators). CSA season is upon us!

Okay, so we’re a little behind out here in Colorado. It’s that pesky snow thing. But, we’re a hardy bunch. We don’t let cold weather ruin our fun or our growing season. Last weekend was Grant Family Farm’s spring farm tour and CSA kick-off celebration. It was cold, rainy, dreary and muddy, but in true Woodstock tradition, spirits were high, the beer was flowing and the farm-fresh food abundant.

As I did last year, I’ll be posting recipes according to what I receive in my share box each week. Please join me in eating our way through the season.

spinach pesto
what you need

2 cups fresh spinach, washed, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic
2 – 3 tablespoons parsley, washed and stemmed
1 – 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

what you do
Place all ingredient in a food processor and pulse. Salt and pepper to taste. Serving ideas: drizzle over roasted chicken, serve with crackers, use on pizza, substitute as a condiment in wraps or sandwiches, use as a pasta sauce. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

Photos courtesy of Kirsten Akens, Food & Drink writer for the Colorado Springs Independent. Please follow this link to Kirsten’s article about Grant Farms Spring Farm Tour (more photos included). Thank you, Kirsten!

Peace, love and farm-fresh food.
Melissa

farm-fresh roasted veggie tacos

This was my lunch today and trust me, it was delicious. Actually, it was more like dinner masquerading as lunch. I have a weekend yoga workshop with Matthew Sanford that starts tonight, so I thought I’d reverse things and eat my big meal this afternoon. I just ate these tacos while watching Nadal make his way into the finals of the French Open.

I think I’m evolving into a vegetarian. While I haven’t made it a definitive, 100% choice yet, I’m moving in that direction. I’ve never been much of a meat eater, so this all-veggie drift is natural for me. I don’t find it difficult to make up vegetarian versions of typical mainstream meals. In fact, it’s fun and entertaining. Plus, my Grant Farms CSA deliveries start soon, so farm-fresh, organic veggies will be abundant. Might as well start experimenting now.

farm-fresh gluten-free roasted veggie tacos
what you need for the tacos

1 medium/large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small squares
1 cup broccoli, chopped into bite sized florets
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, rinsed (I like Eden Organics because the cans are BPA-free)
olive oil
veggie broth *
sea salt
red pepper flakes
shredded cheese
taco shells

* I keep some homemade veggie broth or a container of Imagine vegetable broth in the fridge for oil-free sautéing and for adding moisture to mixtures like this.

what you need for the pico de gallo
1 avocado, chopped
1 tomato, chopped with juice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced well into the green section
2 – 4 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green lettuce leaf, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
sea salt to taste

what you do
Place all the ingredients for the pico de gallo into a medium bowl. Mix well and let sit while making the tacos.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place chopped sweet potato in a medium sized bowl. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil (maybe 1 tablespoon at the most). Mix it up with your hands so the potato pieces are covered. Place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, sprinkle with sea salt and place on middle shelf of the oven. Set timer for 15 minutes. Watch as they can burn quickly.

Place chopped zucchini and broccoli in the bowl you used for the sweet potatoes. Add a touch of olive oil and toss to coat.

After about 15 minutes or so (the potatoes should be half-done), shove the potatoes aside and add the broccoli and zucchini mix to the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and return to oven for 10 to 15 more minutes. Keep an eye on it as the broccoli florets burn easily. Using a spatula, turn the veggies if needed. Remove from oven once they’re finished roasting.

Heat a small amount of veggie broth (maybe 1/4th cup) in a large skillet. Add beans, roasted veggies, red pepper flakes and sea salt. Stir until well heated. You might need to add a touch more broth. You want it moist, but not drippy.

While the mixture is heating, place the taco shells in the oven. It will only take a couple of minutes to heat them up. Watch carefully, they’ll burn quickly.

Fill taco shells with veggie/bean mixture, sprinkle with shredded cheese, top with pico de gallo. Yum! Who says tacos have to be made with pork or beef? You might also like my kale taco recipe. Check here for details.

Peace, love and veggie tacos!
Melissa

homemade vegetable soup stock

Having a jar of homemade stock available is at the top of my list of “essentials” when it comes to healthy cooking. I use stock for everything from sautéing greens and making rice to adding moisture to my veggie burger mix. It’s also a great way to use up bits and pieces of veggies that probably wouldn’t have a life of their own if not mixed together for stock. These are the stragglers that are one step ahead of the compost pile. Rather than using them to make dirt, use them to make stock.

Here’s how.

what you need (this is a launching pad, use whatever you have on hand)
Place random veggie parts and pieces in a large, deep stock pot. Full the pot half-full with chopped veggies. Add some garlic, fresh or dried herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, bay leaves), salt, 2 to 4 whole peppercorns and some dried mushrooms. The mushrooms are optional, but they do add a nice earthy flavor and substance to the stock. You can also add chopped jalapeno or red pepper flakes if you want stock with a kick. Cover with cold, filtered water, bring to a boil, turn heat down, put a lid on it and simmer for about 1 to 2 hours. Cool and strain. I often pick through the strained veggies and purée a few favorites to add a touch of thickness to the stock.

Veggie stock will keep in the fridge for about 4 or 5 days and in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. I freeze it in small batches, so I can pull out a container and use it for a couple of days to sauté vegetables or heat up already cooked rice or quinoa. I’m a fan of olive oil or coconut oil for sautéing, but using broth is low fat and low calorie. Plus it adds a nice, rich flavor to whatever you’re cooking.

* I keep a glass jar in the fridge for non-compostable (the elite stuff) veggie remnants during CSA season. I go through veggies so quickly that saving the better cast-aside pieces for making stock works well. Slightly past their prime is fine, bordering on old age is not good.

Peace, love and veggie remnants!
Melissa

far-out food revolution

Okay, so I’m a hippie-girl at heart. I’ve got flowers in my hair, organic kale in my garden and I’m ready for a revolution. A new, old-school food revolution. Jamie started it and Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang is helping him spread it across the blogosphere. At last count there were well over a half a million people who had signed Jamie’s pledge to shift from processed food to whole, fresh food. I’d say he’s got his revolution going!

Diane has put together her own version of this revolution — 30 days, 30 different food blogs, 30 ways to eat real food. Check here for details. Today’s my day to share tips for eating healthy and finding delight in thriving on wholesome food. Check out my guest post (8 steps to “revolutionary” transformation and maybe even enlightenment) at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.

“Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.”
— Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Leek and Potato Soup from Jamie’s Food Revolution Cookbook
I was inspired by the recipe, rather than ruled by it, so I added beet greens.

serves 6-8

what you need
2 carrots / 2 celery stalks / 2 small onions / 1 pound leeks / 2 cloves garlic / 1 & 3/4 quarts chicken or vegetable broth, preferably organic / 1 pound potatoes / olive oil / sea salt and freshly ground pepper / maybe some greens (my addition)

what you do
Peel and roughly chop the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel anc roughly chop the onions. Cut the ends off the leeks, quarter them lengthways, wash them under running water, and cut them into ¼ inch slices. Peel and mince garlic. Put the broth in a sauce pan and heat until boiling. Place a large saucepan on medium/high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened, but are still holding their shape, and the onion and leeks are lightly golden. Peel the potatoes and cut them into ¼ inch dice. Add the boiling broth to the vegetables. Add your potatoes. Give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on.

to serve your soup
Remove the pot from the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve like this or pulse until smooth using an immersion blender. Tip with some crumbled cheese or roasted sunflower seeds if you’d like.

* I added washed and chopped beet greens at the end and simmered the soup for another few minutes to cook the greens.

nutrition notes on fresh, whole, organic foods used in the recipe
Leeks are related to onions and garlic and have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Leeks also contain a protective flavonol (with an “o” – chemically different from flavanols with an “a”) called kaempferol, which is anti-carcenogenic. Research (the real thing) indicates that leeks provide antioxidant protection and may have some wonderful cancer-fighting properties.
Potatoes are a healthy low calorie, nutrient-dense food if they haven’t been soaked in oil (think French fries) or smothered in sour cream and bacon bits. They’re high in vitamin B6, which is being studied for its ability to activate tumor-suppression genes. Rich in antioxidants, folic acid, fiber, and other health promoting substances, potatoes also have a detoxifying effect on the body. Choose organic as potatoes are part of the Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen (highest in pesticides).
Beet greens are low calorie, nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory. They’re packed with vitamins A, C, and K and are rich in magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron and calcium. Don’t throw the greens away, add them to soups or sauté them like you would spinach or other greens. Seriously, beet greens are what Hippocrates was talking about when he said, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Go forth and start your own personal food revolution!
Melissa

honey-glazed spiced carrots

carrots

I’ve been finding lots of carrots in my Grant Farms CSA delivery box this fall and have been adding shredded carrots to smoothies, chopping them up for soups and stews and I even made a big pot of carrot and ginger soup the other day. Delicious.

Before launching into next week’s sugar-laden, progressive dessert party that Diane at the W.H.O.L.E. Gang is kindly hosting, I thought I’d slip in a carrot recipe. Just to remind myself and my readers that my “roots” are in nutrient-dense, whole foods. I’m a nutrition therapist. Remember that next week, okay? I’ll be on a short visit to planet sugar, not permanently relocating. If I end up staying past next week, someone come and save me (Ali, that might have to be you).

Carrots – think carrots. They’re sweet and full of natural sugar. Yeah, I know – that’s not quite the same as a double chocolate brownie dripping with frosting while decorating the Christmas tree.

Back to carrots.

honey-glazed spiced carrots
what you need

1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil
2 tablespoons shallots, finely diced
several organic carrots, scrubbed and chopped (I used about 3 to 4 cups)
1 cup vegetable broth (I use home-made or Imagine organic veggie broth; you could also use chicken broth)
2 – 3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

what you do
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes. Add broth and stir in carrots. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 10 to 15 minutes. Carrots should be tender, but not over-cooked or mushy. Add the honey, salt and pepper and continue simmering until the sauce becomes syrupy. The honey can burn quickly, so stir often and watch closely. You may have to reduce the heat. Stir in nutmeg just before serving. Transfer to a platter and garnish with parsley. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Up next – holiday desserts! Stay tuned.
Peace, love and sweet veggies.
Melissa

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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