One of my favorite food memories as a child was my mom making rhubarb. I LOVE rhubarb and in my adult years am surprised how few people enjoy the tartness and tang of this beautiful plant.
Rhubarb is a colorful vegetable, not a fruit, and grows quite similarly to celery.
The edible part of the rhubarb plant — the stalk — contains anthocyanins, which is where the bright pinkish red color comes from. Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid found in foods such as berries, red onions, black beans, red grapes and black plums.
While they act as antioxidants in test tube studies, in the human body their protection seems more likely to come from their role in cancer-preventive cell signaling. Anthocyanins have demonstrated protective effects on blood vessels and blood pressure, and recent research suggests that anthocyanins may offer anti-cancer benefits, too.
Rhubarb is also a great source of vitamin K1, which is important for blood clotting and bone health. A half cup of cooked rhubarb provides more than one-third of the recommended dietary intake of vitamin K1, along with two grams of fiber, some calcium and vitamin C.
If you grow your own rhubarb, be careful to avoid the leaves, as their high levels of oxalic acid make them poisonous.
If you are used to strawberry rhubarb pies, you are going to love this tangy sweet but not insulin spiking treat!
How did I manage to bring this childhood favorite into the 2020's leaving the sugar behind? I used coconut palm sugar which has a glycemic load of 1... compare that to a banana with a glycemic load of 12.4 or agave syrup of 9.6 or of table sugar at 6!
If you are looking to balance your sugars and take control of your sweet tooth tiger, join me in a 5-week Sweet Stuff intensive where we learn all about control and balancing our blood sugars and transforming our sweet tooth tiger from wild animal to obedient pet! More information can be found here!
There is some strong evidence that oil of oregano has anti-viral and immune boosting effects, especially with regards to respiratory illness.
Carvacrol, a compound in oil of oregano, was shown to be more effective against certain viruses on its own while oregano oil as a whole was more effective against respiratory viruses, such as flu viruses. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5260481/)
Supplementation can be in capsule or tincture - make sure if you opt for the oil in tincture form that you are not trying to consume Oregano Oil that has not been tinctured (meaning mixed with alcohol or other oils to dilute the strength). You can burn your esophagus badly!
Oil of Oregano is VERY STRONG and can be unpalatable to some, so here is a great recipe that allows for full benefit without the horrible taste. Now, this shooter is not something sweet and crave-able - but it is definitely going to give your immunity a kick in the pants!
1 lemon, peeled and seeded
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 an apple. peeled and cored
1 inch knob of ginger, peeled
2 tsp honey
3 drops pure oil of oregano
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Put all ingredients, except cayenne and apple slices in a blender and process until smooth.
Serve in a shot glass garnished with a sprinkle of cayenne
I am loving quick grab and go salads from Trader Joe's and other grocers, but cost and ingredient quality always makes me feel a little guilty for taking the short cut and that making them at home would be a better option. Like many things in life, homemade is best! What I have for you today is really a SUPER simple and easy salad to toss together, and like many things it tastes better after a day or so in the fridge - Balela Salad.
It is a delicious bean salad with bright lemon and refreshing parsley flavors. If you are a fan of tabbouleh or other Mediterranean salads, then this is right up your alley!
Balela means "cooked chickpea" and this is an outstanding way to get in more plant based protein and fiber into your day. It makes a great side or snack and is very versatile in that you can add to a salad in lieu of dressing, or mix in with pasta, rice, or quinoa for a more full-bodied main dish. You can use it as stuffing in stuffed tomatoes, in pita pockets, or on top of a flatbread for a simple pizza idea. If you eat meat, grilled chicken breast would compliment this nicely.
This slightly smokey sauce is chocked full of vegetable protein and good for you fiber. You can adjust the heat by controlling how many Chipotle peppers you add.
2 cups of cooked brown rice (or riced cauliflower or other preferred riced veggie)
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of Chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
1 medium Vidalia/sweet onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp of minced garlic
1 package of Gimme Lean brand ground beef style (or 1lb ground beef for Paleo option)
Vegetable broth or water for sautéing
Line a sauté pan with vegetable broth or water.
Sauté onion, garlic and gimme lean over medium high heat until gimme lean is cooked through and the onion is transparent (if using ground beef brown and drain the beef during this step)
Add in 1/2 can of crushed tomatoes to start
Now to add the heat: start with just the adobe sauce and then add 1 Chipotle pepper at a time - diced.
I add the whole can, but this is a very subjective seasoning, and always better to err on the side of less is more.
If you add too many Chipotle peppers or sauce, add in more crushed tomatoes.
Heat the sauce all the way through and serve over brown rice or riced veggies.
To make this dish more plant strong, serve with a side salad or serve the whole rice dish over a bed of raw baby spinach leaves. This also helps temper the heat while providing many additional nutrients!
I top with a fair sprinkling of nutritional yeast for an additional boost!
One of the first recipes that I created myself was a rosemary and chocolate vegan cookie. I had a surplus of the herb and as I was muddling it I realized that this must be wonderful when paired with chocolate, so to the Labs I ran! After some playing around this is what I came out with and I to this day love the warm and comforting aroma of this cookie. It is not too sweet and with rosemary is the perfect seasonal addition making these cookies fit right in this Holiday season!
- 2 1/4 cup of flour (you can use whole wheat or all-purpose) I used Whole Wheat
- 1 TBS rosemary, ground. I used a molcajete however you can use any method to grind
- 1 cup of flax meal
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp of sea salt (I used Himalayan Pink)
- 1/2 cup of raw sugar (I used dark raw in the recipe originally but coconut sugar would be a wonderful substitute as well)
- 2 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 TBS sipping chocolate powder or hot cocoa mix
- 2/3 cup of maple syrup
- 1/2 cup of black strap molasses (unsulphured)
Pre- heat oven to 350*
Mix all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
Mix all wet ingredients together in a separate mixing bowl then combine both bowls together by creating a well in the middle of the dry ingredients to pour the wet ingredients into
Add a little water if and as needed to get to fully combine
Roll into balls and then top with more ground rosemary (I stamped each ball onto a sprinkling of COURSELY ground rosemary.)
Place balls ~ 2" apart onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicon baking sheet and bake for 11-15 minutes or longer if needed.
The rosemary on top really sets off the fine rosemary taste in the cookie itself so do not be afraid to dust it liberally!
Here is a quick and easy recipe for a single serving of a warming quinoa flake breakfast that is both fast and nourishing in these chilly wintry days.
Add to 1 cup of boiling water 1/3 cup of quinoa flakes, 2 tsp maple syrup and 1 Tbs of sipping chocolate powder or cocoa powder Mix and let cook for 60-90 seconds.
Add a palmful of raisins and a palmful of crushed pecans. Enjoy!
I need to thank my friend Jamie Sak for introducing me a delicious poppy seed dressing recipe that I of course had to alter a little bit because that is just how I roll. :-) This was adapted from a recipe for a Summer Spinach and Berry salad, however this dressing is great over any salad bed and as an unconventional topping for a bowl of chopped strawberries and blueberries with walnuts. Trust me, it is that good!
In a (preferably high-speed)blender mix:
1/4 C onion (Vidalia / sweet onions are really good in this)
1/2 C water
2 TBS plus 2 tap red wine vinegar
2 TBS plus 2 tsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt
After fully blended, add in 1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds and blend until combined.
One of my favorite meals that my mother made for me as a child was this great "chop suey" dish. I think that I was drawn to the sweet and umami filled flavors that this dish radiates.
The original recipe calls for 1.25 lbs of various meats - mainly pork chicken and veal, lard, white flour and sugar. No wonder I loved it with all those refined products! To this day my mouth still waters thinking about this dish the way my momma made it.
This revamped recipe has the same taste as the original with a fraction of the fat and no cholesterol if you chose to go meat free with it. If you cannot stand mushrooms but instead want meat, see the meat option in the notes. I add in optional veggies for more vitamins and to round it out with colors, but you can omit those and keep it as simple as you wish. This is a true choose your adventure!
1 package of white or portabella mushrooms, diced into large pieces
vegetable broth or water for lining pan
Whole wheat flour (coconut flour if paleo)
Coconut sugar or maple syrup
1 medium stalk of celery
5 small onions, or 1 large Vidalia onion
2-3 Cups of cubed cabbage (white) (OPTIONAL)
1 Cup of diced yellow and red peppers (OPTIONAL)
1 Cup of broccoli florets or other hearty vegetable (OPTIONAL)
1 can of water chestnuts, sliced or diced
1 large can or 2 regular cans of bean sprouts, drained
Coconut aminos (or soy sauce/GF tamari sauce)
The original recipe called for the meat to be coated in flour and then fried in lard until browned, then simmered in water until cooked through. If you are choosing the meat option, use 1.25 lbs of your preferred diced meat (chicken, pork, veal or a mixture of the three) and replace lard with ghee.
If you are following the vegetable version, line a large pot that has been heated over medium high heat with vegetable broth or water. Add in the diced mushrooms, and any long-cooking veggies (broccoli) you would like, cook until they are glistening and tender. At this point I add in 1 Tbs of whole wheat or coconut flour and simmer for a moment to thicken.
MEAT OR VEGGIE VERSION CONTINUES THE SAME:
Then add enough water to cover the mixture with an inch or two over the top and add in the celery and onions simmering until onions (and peppers if using) are translucent and soft. From this point forward it is really personal preference.
Add in by 1 Tbs at a time, whole wheat flour or coconut flour until you hit a consistency that you like and then add in by 1 Tbs at a time coconut sugar/maple syrup and coconut aminos until it has the sweetness that you enjoy.
Now add in the drained water chestnuts and bean sprouts, adding additional water and flour if needed to keep consistency.
I serve this over either brown or white rice or riced cauliflower if Paleo, or you can omit and serve with a spoon as a stew.
I have a killer sweet tooth and I love pumpkin/sweet potato pies and candied yams around the holidays. I remember my mother opening up that can of Bruce's candied yams and that was the first thing that I went for every Holiday meal!
As an adult I continued on the tradition even buying the exact same brand as it reminded me of family times spent together over a hot meal being grateful for one another and the life around us.
As part of my mission to pack a powerful nutritional punch in everything that I eat and serve my loved ones, I wanted to share these too-easy to believe but better than candied yam recipes.
Guess what - a baked garnet yam tastes just like pie without any of the guilt or added sugars and if you decide to go full on dessert - a little Brulee action or stuffing with candied pecans and walnuts turns this tuber into something SPECTACULAR!
Yams have lots of antioxidants and Vitamin A -
Garnet Yams 1 for each person
For brulee: Coconut sugar
For stuffed: 1/4 C walnuts or pecans plus 1 Tbs pure maple syrup per person,
Poke each yam with a fork to allow steam to escape, and bake at 425° for 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to the touch.
Once cooled, cut each in half length-wise and open it, cut side facing up.
Sprinkle each with coconut sugar, then take brulee torch or place under the broiler (watch them!) until the sugar caramelizes and bubbles.
Mix the nuts with the maple syrup until well incorporated. You can spice the candied nut mixture if you would like - this is optional. Add in a little cayenne if you like a sweet heat or some cinnamon and cloves if you like a more traditional spice.
Open the yams like you would a baked potato and scoop in equal amounts of the candied nuts into each and serve immediately.
Alternatively, you can eat them right from the oven with a dollop of vanilla infused ghee, or right from the fridge the next day as a snack to power through any cravings.
Just sayin', yams don't have to be candied to be amazing!
Here you will find all my creations and interesting recipes that will fit into even the most specialized dietary needs!