Apparently summer is in full swing but we are not really feeling it here in Wellington. It’s a bit sad especially for my garden. With a late start to summer, it is still a bit early to enjoy local summer produce like courgettes, summer squashes, tomato, capsicums and fresh basil. It seems my little backyard veggie patch is mirroring the local farmers market this week as one of the abundant vegetables seems to be Italian Kale or Cavolo Nero.
Kale may not be what comes to mind when you think of “summer vegetables” but it is literally all over my garden right now. I find Cavolo Nero very easy to grow and because the plant is continuously growing new leaves for 6 months. I can cut off a few leaves at a time and it just keeps making more!
When faced with a wall of kale (or basil or parsley), I often make a big batch of pesto and freeze some for later. I love love love the earthy deep flavour of fresh kale in pesto and I also want something a bit more spreadable so I could slather it all over my eggs in the morning or on grilled meats off the BBQ. Something more like a pate (which literally means Paste). And with all this yummy kale I am upping my intake of folate, antioxidants and especially vitamin K. (get it? Kale has a lot of vitamin K!).
When I make pesto I tend to use whatever nuts I have in abundance and with this recipe I was inspired to add walnuts from Cameron Family Farms as they were in abundance at the Thorndon Market along with my favorite local sheep cheese maker Kingsmeade Cheese. I picked up a bag of walnuts along with some Kingsmeade Riversdale Pecerino, a bunch of fresh basil and once home I could combine with my backyard kale, new season garlic and fruity Wairarapa olive oil. Combining these ingredients is simple if you have a food processor and in a few minutes you have a Kale Walnut Pate full of summer goodness. Turns out it is delicious on just about anything.
Please enjoy this recipe and tell me what you think!
- 4 cups packed torn kale leaves, stems removed (I used cavolo nero)
- 2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup toasted walnuts
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
- Add kale, salt and basil leaves to food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add walnuts and garlic and pulse until finely chopped and combined.
- with motor running drizzle in olive oil slowly to incorporate. Add cheese and pulse to combine.
- Store pate in a glass jar topped with a little olive oil.
- Freezes well or in fridge topped with olive oil for 1-2 weeks
Every Wednesday, I receive my farm share of organic fruit and vegetables delivered to me from the Wairarapa Eco Farm. I mostly adore all of the seasonal fresh produce however, there always seems to be a surprise or two in the form of uncommon vegetables that require thinking. To be honest, I don’t always know what to do with these vegetables and often I let them sit quietly in the bottom of the veggie bin awaiting their fate to turn into liquid goo. But lately, I have decided that I need to work smarter in the kitchen to reduce food waste and so I have challenged myself to use everything in my farm delivery each week.
This week I had a plethora of baby micro carrots, colorful baby turnips, baby leeks, baby parsnips (and a leftover bit of cauliflower from the back of the fridge). Roasting vegetables, to me, is such a kiwi thing. I don’t think I ever had a roast vegetable salad in my life until I moved to Wellington. The roasting brings out the sweet caramel flavors and create such an earthy intense flavor. Whenever I can I like cooking with delicious anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric, corriander and cumin not only because I love the flavors but because they are real medicine working to combat inflammation-related disease in my body. Combine these intense spices with fresh herbs and nutty brown rice (quinoa would work nicely too), a little tangy lemon vinaigrette and YES, this will make great lunches for a few days.
I will be sharing my new recipes with you all summer season and hopefully come up with some easy new ways to include all of the uncommon veggies that arrive on my door step. Hope you enjoy this flavorful rice salad!
- 3 Tb Olive oil
- 1 cup Organic Brown Rice (or cauliflower rice or quinoa)
- 6 cups of baby vegetables - this could be carrots, red onions, leeks, parsnips, turnips, cauliflower florets, fennel etc. Larger pieces cut in half lenghthwise.
- 1 cup fresh coriander leaves - chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves - chopped
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1/2 fresh red chili sliced
- 1 tsp ground Turmeric
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp Kashmiri chili or cayenne (optional)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt plus more for seasoning
- 1tsp Honey
- 1 Lemon - juiced
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 180 and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Prepare the baby vegetables by washing and slicing any that seem too large. Spread the veggies on the baking tray along with the fresh chili. Add spices and 1tb of oil and toss to coat the veggies with your hands. Spread the vegetables out in a single layer and place the tray in preheated oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until beginning to brown at edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool down.
- Meanwhile add 1 cup brown rice to a saucepan and rinse with several washes of water. Drain and add 2 cups water and 1/2 tsp sea salt to the saucepan. Bring to a simmer and turn heat down very low. Stir, place a lid on and allow to simmer for 30-40 mins. After this time, remove pot from heat and leave the lid on for another 10 minutes. Next, take the lid off and allow rice to cool.
- Next, in a small bowl, make dressing combining 2 Tbl Olive oil, 1 tsp honey (or more to taste) and juice of one lemon. Wisk to combine with a fork.
- Assemble salad once everything has cooled down a bit. The ingredients do not need to be cold just not hot enough to wilt the fresh herbs. In a serving bowl, add cooked rice, roasted veg, fresh herbs, currants and pumpkin seeds and drizzle dressing over the top. Toss the salad together and add more fresh coriander leaves to the top.
Chili, simply put, is something that all Americans have grown up eating and there are about a million ways to make it. Some of my favorite chili’s are vegetarian with mostly beans taking center stage but I also love a hearty beef chili, especially with all the crunchy and creamy toppings that serve to balance out the flavors . Many a fine chili has both beans and meat. I have made chili so many different ways over the years and I have never really used a recipe because at it’s heart, chili is very simple dish.
A few years ago, when I began to address my digestive issues, I learned that my body has a hard time processing legumes which means no more bean chili! I wanted to create a new chili that would nourish my gut while I continue to heal and something that whole family could enjoy. Lately I have been craving this hearty chili con carne made with wild venison and boosted with some healing bone broth. And, depending on who I am serving, sometimes I might add a few beans to the mix or we leave the beans and rice out and eat this as a “Paleo style” meal atop a baked kumera or on top of spice toasted veggies or cauliflower rice. It’s a very flexible meal and I find myself reheating leftovers along side soft scrambled eggs for breakfast or for the teen after school nacho snack.
Lately, I have been cooking with wild meats and we are lucky to have a great selection of game meats around town. I am generally a fan of getting more diversity in our diet and reducing our exposure to pesticides and herbicides and I feel better about these animals living a natural life eating wild foods and foraging as they could not do in paddocks. Also, these wild animals have not been “interfered with” by breeders and I would think they would be a lot closer to their original species. There is a lot of interesting discussion to be had about the ethical considerations of farm raised animals vs. wild and the wild deer in NZ cause damage to native forests by feeding on forest plants, trees and seedlings which can change the diversity of the forest floor. There are many deer control programmes being run my DOC around the country in hopes of controlling the population. So with this in mind, I have been seeking out more wild meat to add to our plate. Especially venison.
I prefer to make this simple and delicious chili as a double batch in my slow cooker and freeze portions for quick lunches and easy meals. The long slow cooking brings out the tender flavors although a similar result can be accomplished in a good heavy bottom pot on the stovetop. The choice is yours!
- 1 kg Wild Venison Mince or organic beef mince
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1-2 tins organic kidney beans (optional)
- 200g organic tomato paste
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes with juice
- 1- 2 cups bone broth (beef is prefered)
- 2 teaspoons chipolte chili powder (optional)
- 1 t ground kelp (Kelp Sprinkles)
- 2 t sea salt
- 2 T “American Chili Powder” or 2 tablespoons ground paprika, 2 t ground cumin, 1 T dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Steamed rice or cauliflower rice (or a baked whole kumera)
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Creme fraiche, sour cream, or cashew cheese (df)
- Chopped fresh tomatoes (only if in season)
- Cubed avocado chunks
- Sliced spring onions or finely diced red onion
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Organic corn chips (optional)
- Fresh saurkraut
- In a large saute pan or skillet brown the venison, onion and garlic over med heat until the meat is no longer pink. Transfer to slow cooker along with beans (if using), tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and spices. Place the lid on and set the slow cooker to low 8-9 hours or high 4-5 hours.
- In a large dutch oven or casserole pan with a tight fitting lid, brown the venison, onion and garlic over med heat until the meat is no longer pink and add in the beans (if using), tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and spices. Mix to combine and place the lid on and set the flame to very low simmer 1-3 hours.
- Season to taste and serve in warm bowls on top of rice and allow everyone to add toppings of their choice. A crisp green salad on the side wouldn’t go amiss!
- freeze leftovers as a quick nacho topping
- 100g Lean sirloin beef steak trimmed of fat (organic or grass fed is best)
- 1 Garlic Clove Crushed
- Juice of ½ Orange
- Juice of ½ lime
- Sprinkle of dried chili flakes
- 1 tsp Apple Cider vinegar
- 2 Cups Lettuce
- 1 C Asparagus (or sub cucumber chopped)
- ½ small witlof chopped
- ½ cup torn basil or thai basil leaves
- 1 shallot sliced thinly
- Handful of ripe cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 tsp sauerkraut juice
- 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- Combine orange juice, lime, vinegar and garlic clove in a small glass dish and leave beef to marinate for several hours or overnight.
- Prepare salad bowl by adding lettuce, tomato, witlof shallot in a bowl.
- Heat a grill pan or frying pan on medium heat. Add asparagus and 1 tbl water to the warm pan and cook evenly until done to your liking. Remove and allow to cool on cutting board.
- Add beef steak to pan and cook until browned on both sides and done to your liking (depending on thickness). Usually a good rule is 3 mins per side for rare.
- Remove steak and allow to sit on cutting board for 10 min. When cooled to touch, slice thinly and chop asparagus to 4 cm pieces. Add to salad and top with basil leaves and dressing.
Good gut health is something we have been hearing more and more about in the last few years and it is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. I am not an expert on gut health (or anything for that matter!) but I have a semi-obsessive fascination with this new area of science that is literally changing every day as we learn more and more.
To me, and many others, the discoveries we are currently making about our micobiome is one of the most fascinating new frontiers of science right up there with space exploration and the mysteries of the deep sea. What is truly mind blowing is that this incredible micro world is inside all of us and yet we have only just discovered it’s value to our health.
My journey into the world of gut health started many years ago as my family’s health was in a pretty poor state. My babies both had colic, numerous ear infections lots of antibiotics and their start to life seemed, well, hard. One of my kids ended up with a rare infection that caused an auto-immune disease. Allergies, asthma and eczema were daily battles and things were not getting better, they were getting worse. At breaking point, we starting a gut healing protocol with a naturopath and that was the beginning of our return to health. We continue to nurture our gut health with these basic principles I have included in this Good Gut Guide for Mums and Babies. It surely is information I wish I had when I started my family 17 years ago!
- It all starts with Mums Gut Health : New science tells us our babies develop their gut microbes while they are in utero and upon birth they are gifted more beneficial bacteria from the mother’s birth canal. Skin to skin contact and breastfeeding further develop this healthy environment and by age 2 most babies have a fully formed microbiome. Many studies have been looking at the loss of diversity in modern diets and therefore even healthy mums can have a diminished spectrum of good bacteria and pass this on to their children further increasing the chances of a poor immune system causing allergies, asthma and auto immune disease, behavioral issues and more. With the rise of births by C section, babies are born not always getting the good bacteria from the birth canal. Many midwives and doctors are now using a swab of the mothers vagina to inoculate the baby who may have missed these important first microbes. If you think you have gut issues, work to heal your gut and improve the flora for your health and that of your baby. There are many practitioners who help people heal their gut and you should look for a good Naturopath, Functional Medical Doctor or Integrative Medical Practitioner in your area.
- Infant Digestion Problems : Colic, reflux and other infant digestive issues are still quite misunderstood but many desperate parents seek medical help for these issues and are often given a prescription for some form of baby antacids which have still not been fully studied (Incredible I know!). Because an infant’s gut is not sealed, many irritating foods from the mothers diet can sneak through and cause discomfort therefore often eliminating some foods from the diet can help. There are very good studies showing that the probiotic strain Lactobacillus reuteri can help babies and reduce crying time. Here are some great tips from Body Ecology and a clinical naturopath. Again, seek help from a experienced Naturopath, Functional Medical Doctor or Integrative Medical Practitioner before starting any diet changes while breastfeeding.
- You (and your baby) are what you eat : Our food creates our cells. Diet is one of the most important pilliars of good health and what you feed your cells determines what kind of gut bacteria you will have. Diets high in processed carbs (crackers, bread, pasta, chips, noodles, white rice) and high in sugar will feed your pathogenic bacteria and yeast. Thats the food they LOVE. Good gut bugs can’t use carbs and sugars as food and in order to grow and multiply they need vegetable fiber. Increasing vegetables in your diet is a great way to increase your good gut bacteria. If you have digestive issues, raw vegetables can irritate a sensitive intestine so try cooked vegetables like silverbeet, carrot, pumpkin, kumera, onion etc.
- Avoid Non Essential Medications and Chemicals : Antibiotics and other medications like birth control, proton pump inhibitors and anti-inflammatories can destroy good gut diversity and leave people with a gut full of pathogenic bacteria. Chlorinated water, anti-bacterial soaps, disinfectants and pesticides all work to destroy good bacteria and microbes in our environment. Tap water can contain pesticides, heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride, and a good filter can reduce your exposure.
- Nurture your Microbiome : Focus on organically grown food because it is free of toxins and bug killing chemicals that further harm your healthy gut bugs. Add delicious fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha into your diet. Spend time up close and personal with nature to get a good dose of the one billion bacteria in a teaspoon of earth. Working to reduce your stress levels can also improve your gut health in profound ways. Supplementing with high quality probiotic capsules can also help increase the healthy of your gut flora especially after antibiotics. Again, it is best to seek advice about which ones to try.
As more and more evidence points out the direct relation between the increase in modern diseases and the relationship to our gut health it is a very powerful thing you can do for your wellbeing and that of your children. It doesn’t have to be too hard and a good place to start is just adding in more fresh vegetables to every meal and supporting your 100 Trillion bacteria with gut loving fermented foods.
A few weeks ago I was invited to teach healthy cooking with a group of Columbian refuge women who are part of the Refugee Trauma Recovery programme here in Wellington.
When I was thinking about what we could cook together, I suppose comfort food was on the top of my mind. This group of Columbian women and their families have been through horrible trauma, torture and the stress of not knowing what happened to their loved ones who have disappeared and are feared dead. It was very humbling to spend time with these ladies and hear about their struggles. These women are the fortunate of the unfortunate who have a new home in New Zealand but still, they are left with a great deal of post traumatic stress and worry for loved ones left behind. Their healing has only just begun and nothing about it is easy.
But what does food have to do with healing from trauma? Food has the power to heal us in so many ways! Familiar tastes can revive old memories and can make us feel safe and warm. We use food to express love and we in turn feel loved when someone cooks us a home made meal. Food nourishes our bodies and helps us recover from illness. Food from our culture or homeland can be especially meaningful and we can feel very homesick when we move far away and can no longer enjoy these familiar tastes.
I think it is very well known that one of the best healing foods is soup. In fact recent studies have confirmed that soup has probably been a part of traditional human diets dating back 20,000 years! And for good reason.
Every culture has a version of healing soup because people have long known that soup made using the joints and bones of animals has a very special nutrient profile: it is a incredibly healing food because of the breakdown of minerals in the bones as well as cartilage, marrow and skin. These highly absorbable nutrients help fight infections, reduce inflammation, reduce joint pain, regulate hormones, and is easy to digest for people with illness and digestive issues. More recently evidence has shown that it “heals and seals” the broken gut lining in people with permeable gut. Soups made with this “bone broth” are packed full of nutrition as well as being very inexpensive to make and highly comforting.
With this in mind, I thought we could recreate a well known Columbian chicken soup called Ajiaco using produce that is locally available, donated or foraged from around our area in the middle of winter.
The good people at Kaibosh food rescue donate several boxes of food to the refugee group each week and along with some foraged bay leaves, rosemary, a lemon and a few leaves of kale from my home garden we had the makings of a simple soup using a whole chicken. Because we only had a short time to work together, we used this quick cooking soup method which makes a light flavored chicken broth. In order to make a true bone broth, you would remove the breast and leg meat after one hour and return the bones to the soup and simmer for longer to extract all the nutrients. I will be sure to post more about bone broth soon.
We had a lovely afternoon making this simple soup together and enjoying learning about seasonal New Zealand produce and herbs and ways to incorporate them into their traditional Colombian recipes.
- 1 small Organic Chicken or several thighs and legs with bone and skin
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 2 ribs celery diced
- 4 garlic cloves finely diced
- 1 onion peeled and finely diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1T chopped rosemary
- 4 medium size potatoes (any variety) peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 t sea salt plus more to taste
- Fresh black pepper
- 4 cups finely shredded seasonal greens such as kale or silverbeet
- 1 cup loosely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 fresh lemon juiced
- Olive oil for serving
- Add chicken, carrots, celery, garlic, onion, herbs and salt and pepper into a stock pot and cover with filtered water (about 2 litres).
- Bring to a gentle boil and skim any foam that may rise to the surface. After 15 minutes skim off any bits of foam that are on the surface. This makes for a clear broth and the foam can make the soup taste bitter.
- Next, partially cover and gently simmer for 45 min to 1hr on low.
- Carefully remove chicken and set aside, allow to cool down a bit while the soup continues to simmer. Break up large potato chunks with a spoon or potato masher leaving some large pieces.
- When chicken cool enough to work with, remove meat from the bone and cut into bite size pieces. (I sometimes save half the chicken meat for another use). Return chicken meat to stockpot with greens and parsley. Gently simmer for 15 min. Taste for salt and pepper and serve in bowls with a drizzle of fruity olive oil.
- Save any large chicken bones in the freezer for making your next batch of chicken bone broth.
This week I was a guest on Mat Time with Storypark. This being my first video interview, (and also my first official blog post) I was a bit nervous but I sure did have fun hanging out on the Mat with Hilary chatting about the importance of nutrition for children. The clever folks at Wellington based start-up Storypark are creating brilliant ways for parents, teachers and children to create stronger communities. If you have a little one in preschool you may already be familiar with how Storypark connects you to the world of your child while they are at preschool. It’s been really fun to watch Storypark grow along the way.
I am very happy that I could share some information about childhood nutrition to the Storypark community.
My personal interest in nutrition started about 7 years ago because my family was sick. My youngest son was chronically unwell with asthma, mood issues, crippling anxiety, constipation and allergic reactions from everyday life. As a mum, my focus was on getting my son better and as I searched for answers, I also became aware that I could no longer ignore my own health problems. I was suffering from chronic digestive issues but I had begun to think of my constant bathroom trips, “tummy bugs” and painful swollen tummy “normal”. After many doctor and specialist visits we were left with no answers as to why were were sick and we were sent away with a few pills to mask our pain. Deep inside I felt there was a tangible root cause, a scientific explanation for our symptoms that perhaps these doctors were not aware of. I searched for answers, read books, and after an exhaustive search of trial and error, I found a Naturopath who focused on the root cause of our illness. After starting a few basic supplements and making some diet changes my son’s Asthma and constipation resolved. My digestive issues cleared and it was clear to me that what we put into our bodies has a direct relation to our health.
From this experience, I realized that I needed to be more proactive about my health and not just put it in the hands of doctors who are really in the business of disease management, not optimal health. We were still eager to sort out some remaining health issues my son was suffering from and I sought out the help from a well regarded Pediatrician in private practice working in Auckland Dr. Leila Masson. Dr. Masson discovered our son had a rare infection that was causing his symptoms. We started working on making his diet free of common allergens, doing some tests to look at the state of his health and that was we we learned that his gut bacteria was overrun with clostridium difficile and his gut was not working to produce healthy neurotransmitters.
Over the course of our journey, I realized that I have a huge passion for food, nutrition and family health. I went on to receive my training in Holistic Nutrition from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York so that I could work with women who are interested in learning how to use food and nutrition to improve their health and energy and that of their families. That is when The Remedy Project was born!
Here is some more info based on what we discussed during Storypark Mat Time.
Nutrition tips for Families
There is a lot of nutritional information floating around out there and it can really feel like the information often contradicts itself. Most nutritional studies are done in isolation and the media is quick to publish anything that sells news. What is known is that nutrition is hugely important for the health of our body and mind and especially before conception, during pregnancy and in childhood. At these times nutrition is essential for the rapid creation of healthy cells.
Often during pregnancy, women will pay special attention to what they are putting into and onto their body because they are building a new life and want the best possible start for their baby.
As our children are introduced to first foods it is important to train their tastebuds on healthy foods that are free of additives and chemicals as they are especially sensitive to these. There is a growing body of evidence that the chemicals in our everyday environment are upsetting balance of our bodies and contributing to the modern diseases of inflammation (think: Asthma, allergies, mood disorders, eczema).
A simple whole-food formula to keep in mind for meal preparation is this:
- Protein: aged cheese, unsweetened full fat yogurt, unprocessed free range meat, beans, tofu/tempeh
- Fruits and Vegetables: seasonal fruits and vegetables, cooked and raw, a mix of textures and colors.
- Whole Grains: breads are made from processed grain and spike blood sugar. Experiment with whole grains like rice, oats, millet, and quinoa.
Variety is very important in every way as well. Eating what is in season, lots of colors like orange, red and purple, textures, sauces, soups, hot and cold etc.
Children today are big on snacks and often the snack foods they have are very empty in nutrition in the form of processed high glycemic carbs like bread, crackers, cookies and chips and things high in sugar like nut bars, yogurts, biscuits. We are in the habit of having a biscuit for morning and afternoon tea and we just culturally do the same for our kids, training them to continue the habit.
Slowly change family favorite recipes to increase nutrition
- Make small changes and don’t announce it. – gently make small changes that are undetectable.
- Engage kids in thinking that their food is more than just something to put in their mouth. Ask them to guess which part of their meal is good for healthy bones? Can they guess? If a bunny rabbit was at the dinner table, which food would they be excited to eat? Have fun thinking up ways to engage kids in thinking about their food choices.
Tips for teachers
- Read books about farms and growing food. Some are listed on the Storypark Pintrest Board
- Talk about healthy food and where our food comes from. Most children think food comes from the grocery store, but before that, where does it come from?
- Have a “rainbow foods” day where the children all bring in a vegetable and you arrange them by colour and talk about the vitamins and delicious nutrients that help us grow big and strong.
- Have some policies in place for lunch boxes and party food. You could reach out to a local nutrition expert who would be happy to come and run a parent night for your parents explaining why nutrition is important.
- Once a week have a “food detectives” day where you ask each child which items in their lunch box would be good to feed the class guinea pigs, rabbits etc. If a child holds up a packet food, you can ask “do animals eat things in packets?” Should we eat food in packets?
- Grow some vegetables in the school grounds and get the children involved. Easy to grow veg are beetroot and silver beet, lettuce, carrots. You could make a special vegetable soup with what you grow.
- Make sure there are no pesticides used on the school grounds. There are chemical free weed killers made with vinegar, salt and oil you can find online
- Bring green plants into the classroom. The children can be responsible for watering them and the plants also serve to clean the air in the classroom
- Some classrooms talk about germs and bad bugs that spread sickness and good bugs can also be talked about. What are our good bugs? What do they do for our bodies?
- Let children play outside and get dirty. Exposure to soil microbes helps keep the micro-biome healthy and helps develop a healthy immune system
Resources for Parents and Teachers
Free Ebook Nourishing Your Babies Morning Noon and Night
Some good documentary Films to watch with older children: Hungry for Change, That Sugar Film
Children’s Health A to Z for New Zealand Parents (but great for any parent!) by Dr. Leila Masson
Nourishing Traditions Cookbook – a great general whole foods cookbook
Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and their Parents
I am looking forward to sharing more information about healthy gut bugs for children soon. Please let me know if there is something you would like info about!
Adapted from a family favorite recipe for potato and leek soup, the subtle addition of celeriac and the aromatic bouquet garni create a velvety and fragrant soup that is wonderfully comforting on a cold drizzly day. Most of these ingredients usually come in my weekly CSA box during the winter and early spring and the herbs are picked fresh from my garden.
- 2 T Organic Ghee, butter or olive oil
- 2-3 leeks (white part only) cleaned and chopped
- 2 shallots diced
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 organic celery stalks chopped
- 2 small or 1 large celeriac peeled and chopped
- 4 med size potatoes peeled and chopped (I use whatever is in my CSA)
- 1.5 litres homemade bone broth (chicken) or vegetable broth
- 2-3 T chopped soft garden herbs such as chives, fennel fronds or parsley for garnish
- Olive oil to drizzle
- Bouquet Garni: wrap these herbs in cheesecloth, large tea strainer or bouquet garni bag and tie with string. Alternatively, chop thyme, parsley and rosemary and add bay, herbs and fresh ground black pepper to pot.
- 2-3 stems of thyme or lemon thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2-3 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 black peppercorns
- In a medium sized stock pot melt ghee over low to med heat.
- Add onion, leek, shallots, onion, celery and gently “sweat” for 30 minutes on low to medium heat until the veg are very soft and fragrant. Give the veggies a quick stir every so often to prevent browning.
- While vegetables are cooking, prepare bouquet garni
- Once the vegetables are soft add celeriac, potato and bouquet garni and pour in the bone broth. Add water if needed to just barely cover veg.
- Bring to a gentle simmer and continue to cook, lid on for 30 - 40 min until potato and celeriac are perfectly soft. Remove bouquet garni and purée soup with hand blender or method of choice until rich and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve in bowls garnished with fresh chopped parsley parsley, chives, fennel fronds, black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Store soup in freezer in individual containers for quick reheating during the week.
The healing properties of Turmeric have been well known for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and the most modern day science has backed up what healers have known since 3000bc. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant food and in recent studies it has been shown to be as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs. Other impressive studies have shown that taking Curcumin, the main compound in Turmeric, is as effective as Prozac for fighting depression (without any side effects).
Turmeric is gaining in popularity in western cultures because it is an effective and proven anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic agent and can assist in the treatment of anything from arthritis to psoriasis. At home, we have been supplementing by taking a highly absorbable Curcumin capsules to quench the fire of inflammation for our leaky gut and autoimmune conditions. We have also used dried turmeric to create a paste with water and applied as a face mask for treating rosacea flare ups. I love the early flavour of fresh Turmeric root and I keep some frozen to grate into curries, fresh juices and my favorite healing drink when I am sick, turmeric tea.
I could go on all day regarding the benefits of Turmeric for disease prevention, healthy liver function, easing digestive issues, but it’s pretty obvious that it is a potent medicinal food we should all be eating more of which it is why it is one of the pillars of healing foods.
Turmeric is naturally a warming spice and combined with ginger the two combine to create a healing tonic improving circulation and breaking down congestion. Adding cayenne stimulates and helps drain the sinuses acting as a natural decongestant. Lemon juice is an overall powerhouse of healing and thins mucus and boosts the body’s immune system as well as delivering a big dose of vitamin c. Black pepper and coconut oil help your body to absorb and uptake turmeric a health giving properties. Orange juice not only gives vitamin C but also some sweetness and citrusy fresh flavour that I love. And Manuka honey is well known as a modern day super food for its UMF or Unique Mauka Factor which has been scientifically proven to be a powerful antibiotic, anti-fungal, and antiviral making manuka honey an effective remedy for sore throats, colds, sinusitis, and gastro intestinal problems.
- boil 1 litre filtered water
- In a large teapot add
- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated
- Small piece of fresh turmeric peeled and grated (wash your hands after!) or 1t dried turmeric
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Juice of 1 orange
- 2 whole garlic cloves smashed (optional)
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- 1 T of coconut oil
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon Manuka honey with UMF or any honey will do (optional)
- Add all ingredients into a large teapot and cover with boiling water. Allow to steep for 5 minutes or longer and strain into cups and enjoy.
I should just call these “kale crack” because they are amazingly addictive. My teen begs, yes, begs me to make these and I can not make enough to keep up with demand! What I love about these chips is that they are a healthy, nutrition packed power snack full of phytonutrients and antioxidants that tastes better than any store bought nonsense. Making these seems quite labour intensive at first, however there is really not that much more to it than making a salad and dressing. A very long drawn out salad that takes several hours before you can eat it. Cleaning the dehydrator on the other hand, is a job I try to contract out.
- 1 large bunch of curly kale
- 1 cup cashews (soaked in water for 2 hours)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons rice syrup
- 1 tsp chipotle in adobo
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
- Soak cashews in water for 2 hours
- Meanwhile, clean kale and strip off tough stalks. Dry kale in a salad spinner to get rid of excess moisture. (If the kale is wet, the chipotle sauce will not coat the leaves.) Keep kale in a large mixing bowl.
- When cashews are ready, strain, rinse and place in the blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend at high speed until really creamy (about 2 minutes).
- Prepare dehydrator trays for easy access.
- Pour chipotle sauce over kale and “massage” to coat in all the little kale nooks and crannies. Lay each piece of kale on dehydrator trays with plenty of space around each piece to properly dry out. Do not overlap kale. Stack trays and turn dehydrator on to “medium” or “setting 2” or 55 C. Kale is ready when fully crisp which takes around 3-4 hours.