Browsed by
Category: Uncategorized

The road less traveled…

The road less traveled…

What does it mean to you to eat healthy?  I know what it means to me, but what does it mean to you?

I often get asked how I eat the way I do, or how do I not eat the way other people do, how do I stick with it… and often there is a lot of mention of willpower, or the lack thereof.  But it has nothing to do with willpower.

Seven years ago, I thought I ate fairly healthy.  I knew there was room for improvement, so I decided I would give up diet sodas.  It wasn’t something I really wanted to do, but I could tell my daily habit was becoming more and more consuming and more and more expensive.  I knew it wasn’t good for me, and I had a vague desire to get rid of them.  And I really didn’t care for the idea of setting a bad example for my kids by drinking them.  Half of the time I found myself drinking them and not even enjoying them!  Or leaving them half finished because it just no longer appealed to me.

So April 1, 2010, I gave them up.  I don’t really know what I intended with this goal, and to be honest, I don’t think I ever really looked past just trying.  I figured I could give them up for a day, and see what happened.  And when day one came and I managed to not have a single one, I figured I could see what happened if I went another day.  Day two was successful, so I aimed for a day three.

With each day that passed, I felt more confident and content with my decision.  And every time I had a craving for a diet coke, I immediately thought about how many days I had already gone without one, and the fact that if I had one now, I would have to start over from square one.  I didn’t want to have to go through this again, so I just kept going.  And here we are, seven years, four months and two weeks later.  I still think about sodas sometimes, but it’s just a passing thought anymore.

But that was definitely the start of me eating healthy.  Over time my desire to do better grew and I eliminated more poor food choices and added more good food choices.  And over time, I came to where I am now.  I can make some radical changes in my diet from time to time, but it really has been an evolution of sorts.

So when you look at your own diet, and you feel like there is so much for you to do, or you feel overwhelmed and lacking confidence that you can get where you want to go, just set that aside.  Don’t worry about accomplishing everything right here and right now.  Put one solid, important goal in front of you for now.  Pick the one desire that resonates most with you at this time.  Maybe it’s a big one, maybe it’s a little one.  Maybe it’s a little one that turns into something with big effects for you down the road.  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you do something that is right for you in this moment.

Maybe you want to drink more water.  Eat less sugar.  Eliminate gluten.  Add more green vegetables.  Cook more meals at home.  Give up candy.  It all counts.  It is all important.  And it is all as valid as the next desire, the next goal, the next accomplishment.  Because it all leads somewhere.

You never know where your journey will take you, and frankly, that’s kind of the fun in life!  Accept it.  Allow it.  Embrace it.  Take the road you haven’t traveled and see where it leads you.  You might just be pleasantly surprised.

Summer CSA shares

Summer CSA shares

It’s been pretty busy over here and our summer farmer’s markets and CSA shares are just coming in to the best yields.  Our weather has been a little funny this summer, alternating between extra rainy and then extra hot!  I’ve talked to some of our farmers and they’ve noticed tomatoes and peppers are a little slow so far, but that’s what makes seasonal eating great. We learn to go with the flow, we learn to follow nature.

 

This is the beautiful share I brought home this week.

I picked up a few extra things at the market to top it off:  broccoli, fennel, gorgeous lettuce heads, and fresh basil from a friend.

Only this week was so crazy I had to wait a few days until I could actually pull these goodies together for a proper dinner.  With the rain came cooler temps, so I jumped on the chance to do a little roasting.  And if I am going to heat up my kitchen, I am going to make the most of it.  So I chopped up a couple of zucchinis, a beautiful red onion, my fennel, red bell pepper and some fresh garlic.  I sprinkled them with avocado oil and sea salt and in to the preheated oven they went.  I like to roast at 425, and sometimes I’ll run the food under the broiler for a few minutes at the end.

 

While they roasted I threw together a big salad- green and red leaf lettuce, fresh basil and mint, the fronds from the fennel… and I dressed it with fresh squeezed lemon juice and olive oil.

Once the vegetables were done roasting, I pulled them out and let them cool a bit.  Aren’t they beautiful?

Once they cooled, I added them to my salad base.

For a vegetarian version you could obviously leave as is, or toss a few beans on top.  Toasted pine nuts make a beautiful addition here too.  For other protein options, consider chicken or shrimp, or for heavier fare grilled steak or roast pork.

And all of this amazing goodness only took 15 minutes!

 

 

Summer Salads

Summer Salads

 

 

Wednesdays are the best.  My new favorite day of the week.  It’s CSA share pickup and farmer’s market.  Needless to say, I look forward to Wednesday night’s dinner and the challenge of being creative in the kitchen!

As warm as it is we prefer to eat as fresh as possible and without heating up the kitchen as much as we can.  I have learned how to be a little more clever in the kitchen, like using my Instant Pot pressure cooker often and even slow cooking overnight.  If I am cooking in the oven, I multitask and roast, bake or cook multiple items at the same time.  Honestly these are year round tactics that save me time, but they are really handy in the summer heat.

This salad was a good one.  Chard from our own little garden made the bed.  Zucchini ribbons, lightly steamed peas and beets, sliced cucumbers from our share.  The only foreign invader- the avocado slices from Trader Joes.  Homemade beet hummus, sprinkled with thyme.  Drizzle with olive oil and lemon.  A smattering of Growing the Seed’s Immune Boosting Pumpkin Seeds.  And the final touch?  A calendula blossom from our garden.

Delicious!  Seeing the colors in our food makes me smile each and every time.  You know you are doing your body a favor, and it tastes amazing too!

 

What kind of fun have you been having in the kitchen these days?  Share your creations with us and let us all be inspired!

CSA Share Week 4

CSA Share Week 4

blueberries, black raspberries, shelled peas, green beans, zucchini, slicing cucumber, pickling cucumber, red potatoes, and basil

 

For those of you who have never participated in a CSA, I thought I would share this week’s produce pickup.  Isn’t this beautiful?  Jeff from Conover Farms put together this box, and I can assure you everything has been wonderful!  This is the time the shares start picking up speed.

Pictured is the full size share.  I have three people in the house and we eat this plus other farmer’s markets finds.  I have not been disappointed yet!

Spring Greens Season

Spring Greens Season

It’s early in the produce season, despite the warm weather we’ve had this year.  You know what that means, don’t you?  Greens!  Kale, chard, beet greens, spinach… you name it, it’s growing and overflowing.

I have been getting beautiful bunches of kale in my CSA share from Conover Farms, and I’m growing Swiss Chard in my tiny little garden, but my friends have also blessed me with their kale and chard that they have had enough of!  I have made so many different greens recipes, being as creative as I can to use these guys up.  I made Green Meat-less-Balls, Green Hummus, Sauteed Greens, Swiss Chard Soup,….  you get the point.  But I came home the other day and realized I had four giant ziplock bags of greens.  And did I mention the chard in the garden too?  Yeah.  Time to take action.

 

 

So I decided to make a giant batch Kale Chimichurri, one of my favorite recipes for greens.  Chimichurri is a South American treat that can be used as a dipping sauce, a marinade, a soup enhancer, a salad dressing base… in other words, it’s extremely versatile.  And better yet, it’s extremely forgiving and flexible!  You start with a base of greens, oil, and garlic and sea salt and the rest is up to you.

For this recipe I decided to use the mint overtaking my garden, and I gave it an Asian flavoring.  I added a little basil, lime juice, and coriander seasoning.  It is subtle, but tasted wonderful on shrimp and zucchini noodles tonight.

  

This is my basic Kale Chimichurri Recipe:

1 bunch kale

1/2c. olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic

1-2T. acid, lemon or lime juice, fresh squeezed, or red wine vinegar

sea salt to taste

 

  Toss everything in to the food processor, pulse until thoroughly mixed.  Season with salt and pepper as you go.

Remember, the biggest thing about chimichurri is it’s versatility !  If you don’t have these spices and herbs on hand, use what you’ve got!

Flavor options:

  • mint, basil, coriander and red pepper with lime juice
  • dill, mint, basil, thyme, and parsley with lemon juice
  • cilantro, thyme, marjoram, parsley and oregano with red wine vinegar
  • cilantro, jalapeno, and lime juice
  • basil, oregano, and thyme with lemon juice
  • ginger, turmeric, black pepper, coriander, cumin, and lime juice

 

Really you can’t go wrong with the seasonings.  If you taste along the way, you will come across a flavor profile that you love and will want to indulge in.  For this batch, because I had so many bunches of kale, I made enough to enjoy now and also

put some away for later.  I portioned them out in to small 1/2 pint mason jars, covered with plastic wrap and sealed with a lid, then froze.  Now I can enjoy this garden fresh goodness all year long!

 

I topped fresh zucchini noodles with the Kale Chimichurri and blackened shrimp.  We served it with a side of coriander roasted potatoes and salt and pepper rutabaga.

Broth, Three Ways

Broth, Three Ways

Summer may be approaching and soup may be far from on your mind, but broth is a staple in this house hold.  I keep broth at the ready for many reasons, but they all come back to health.  Broth is a phenomenal health builder, good for the immune system, the heart, the brain, the gut, the skin… the soul.

I have three versions of broth I would like to share with you, one for each type of need.  I use an Instant Pot for my broths, but you can always use a basic slow cooker or a pot on the back of your stove.

Here is the list of basic ingredients you will need for all three:

  • filtered water
  • sea salt
  • apple cider vinegar
  • mix of vegetables: carrots, celery, onions, garlic, etc.
  • herbs: oregano, parsley, thyme, pepper, etc.

 

Chicken Broth

Let’s start with chicken broth, as it is probably your first thought!  Chicken broth is such an easy home remedy for what ails you, and it tastes so rich, too.  That’s because it is!  Those bones are powerhouses of minerals and nutrients.  Cooking the bones over low heat releases the minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, omega fatty acids, protein, collagen… you get the idea.  The slow and low method breaks down the bones and allows these nutrients to escape the bone and infuse the broth.

As I cook chicken for meals, I reserve the leftover bones and meat parts.  Usually I keep a container in the freezer dedicated to broth parts- bones, meats, tendons, cartilage, and random vegetable parts.  When it is full, I know it’s time to make broth!

So into the Instant Pot I dump my broth contents, and then cover with clean filtered water.  Personal preference note: Make sure there is plenty of garlic!  I love garlic cloves in my broth, as they add more depth to the flavor.  Add the sea salt, black pepper, and apple cider vinegar.  For chicken you only need the seasonings to taste and the apple cider vinegar can be a tablespoon or two.  Save the herbs.

Cook the broth on low for 12 hours or so.  Keeping it on low preserves the natural and collagen proteins.  Too high heat will break them down and you will lose the benefits, and the gelatinous quality of your broth.  Once it is down, remove from heat and allow to cool. It is at this point I add my softer herbs.  They can be overcooked and lose their flavor if cooked too long.  So I allow them to infuse the broth for the last hour or so during cooling.

Once cooled, strain the broth into wide mouthed mason jars and allow to cool further before covering with a lid and placing in the fridge.  Label (this part is important!) and freeze until needed.

 

Beef Broth

Next let’s talk about beef broth.  This broth is a stronger flavored broth, but richer in minerals and nutrients.  This happens simply because the bones are bigger and more dense than little chicken bones.  it is for this reason too that the broth needs to cook longer than chicken broth.

You follow the same steps as the chicken broth, but increase your apple cider vinegar to 1/4c.  Allow this broth to cook on low for 24 hours.  If not using a lidded pot, please monitor the water level to ensure it doesn’t evaporate and burn.  When done cooking, remove from heat and add the herbs.  Once completely cooled, label and store in the fridge or the freezer.

 

Vegetable Broth

Last but definitely not least, we have vegetable broth.  This broth is wonderfully nourishing, though it lacks the collagen and protein of bone and meat broths.  You still benefit from the antioxidants and nutrients in the vegetables, and it will add great depth to your meals and soups.

Follow the basic ingredients list for the broth and allow to cook on low for at least one hour.  I would cook for up to a couple of hours, but you really don’t need a long cooking process as you do for the bones.  When complete, you will have a richly colored broth, but don’t expect gelatin like consistency.

 

 

 

 

 

Here I have some added tips on getting the most out of your broth:

  • Use top quality ingredients.  Since you are cooking with the intention of extracting the nutrients, you want organic herbs and vegetables, pure water, and grass fed bones and meat.  You don’t want to extract any chemicals, hormones, and pesticides with your nutrients, so cook clean to eat clean.
  • Always, always, always cook on low.  Too high and even too long can alter the taste and quality of your broth.
  • When straining, dump the herbs and veggies but save the bones.  You can use them again for a second batch.  Yes, it’s true!  For the second round repeat the process, but increase the apple cider vinegar amount and double the cook time.  You will be getting deeper nutrients released from the bones, though collagen will be minimal.  This means second batch broth will be more liquid and less gelatinous.
  • If you are purchasing soup bones, roasting them before cooking will enhance the flavor of your broth.
  • Want to increase the nutrient content?  Add egg shells!  In the summer I get my eggs from local farmers.  So every time I crack an egg, I wash it and save them in my freezer broth container.  This will bump up your calcium levels in the broth!
  • To freeze, you MUST use wide mouth mason jars.  Do not over fill the jar (I leave plenty of room, as in 1/2 to 1″ of space) to allow for expansion.  I also do not seal the lid tightly until after it is frozen.  Failure to do so will result in cracked glass and tossed broth.
  • I love to add seaweed to my broths.  Kombu is a fantastic seaweed that when added to cooking liquid not only imparts flavor and iodine, it helps to extract the nutrients from the other foods being cooked.  Win win!
  • You can freeze your broth in muffin tins or ice cube trays.  Then remove and keep in a freezer container.  These are perfect for cooking vegetables, soups, sauces, or other meals.
  • Drink your broth in place of tea or coffee for a deeply nourishing pick me up!
  • Use the broth in place of water for rice, veggies, quinoa, and more.

 

The summer CSA

The summer CSA

 

Honestly, one of my favorite things about spring and summer is the farmer’s market stands overflowing with fresh produce.  It’s the highlight of my week to get to go!

This year, of course, we brought the farmer’s market directly to us through our summer CSA share.  CSA, community supported agriculture, is a fantastic program that offers you farm fresh produce at the height of it’s nutrition, while also benefiting the local economy and supporting our farmers.  CSAs are wonderful for the environment too because there is less carbon footprint.  Win-win-win!

 

Today we picked up our second share, and all I can say is oh my!  (I would have posted about our first share, but we were too excited and hungry to take pictures!)  But this week it was too beautiful not to share.  Our produce is from Conover Farms in Burgettstown.  It’s organic, heirloom, and non-GMO.  And amazing!!!!

 

Tonight’s dinner was straight out of the box.  Spring time salads are great ways to detoxify and clean out your body from the heavy winter foods.  Lots of greens, lettuces, asparagus, onions and garlic… these are all phenomenal detoxifiers.  They are full of fiber which helps to clean your intestines and move things along.  The greens are high water content and as such, a good diuretic.  Asparagus, too, is a diuretic.  Remember, this supports your liver and your kidneys, which are two important organs for toxin removal.   Onions and garlic are sulfur rich, a mineral that supports the body in many of it’s inner day to day functions.  But sulfur also helps rid the body of unwanted items.

Seeing a theme?  The foods that grow naturally in the spring season all act together to help our bodies move from one season to the next.  This is why eating in tune with the current season is so good for our health!  Nature knows exactly what it is doing.  We just need to follow it’s lead!

 

So for dinner tonight…

 

Springtime Salad

1 bunch romaine lettuce, roughly torn

1/2 bunch asparagus

1/4c. shelled peas

fresh dill, chopped

2T. fresh squeezed lemon juice

3T. avocado oil

sea salt to taste

 

In a small jar, mix together lemon juice, oil, sea salt and dill or other herbs.  Mix to emulsify.

Lightly steam or sauté the peas and asparagus.  You only need a minute or two because you want them to be slightly cooked, but still crisp.

Toss the romaine with the dressing and place in a large bowl.  Top with asparagus and peas and more fresh herbs.  You can eat as is, or add protein of choice.  Personally, I would go with salmon or a light chicken here!  Enjoy and know that you are doing yourself and your community a favor!

Elevated Blood Sugar, Round 2

Elevated Blood Sugar, Round 2

Previously we discussed what it means when you have elevated blood sugar and how it affects your body.  You can find the link here: http://growingtheseed.com/elevated-blood-sugar/

Once you know this, it is important to know that for many, your choices in day to day life can lead you away from elevated blood sugar and possible diabetes, or they can get you there faster.  We are going to discuss some easy and healthy ways to lower blood sugar and maintain improved glucose levels on a regular basis.

Let’s remember that food, stress, and environment all play a role in our health.  Eating, exercising, social interactions… they all cause our body to respond chemically.  This means our body is releasing hormones (cortisol, adrenaline, insulin…) as it feels it necessary.  Our body is in a constant state of awareness- it is primed and ready should it need to switch from relaxed mode to go mode.  Foods that are good for our individual bodies will have little impact, but when we eat something that is not right for our body, it creates a larger insulin response.  This is true for exercise and environmental exposures, too.

For someone who is in otherwise good health, these little episodes of fluctuating blood sugar can be corrected nicely and we are back on track to regular programming.  Eating the wrong foods, having the wrong timing of eating, temporary illness, or undergoing stress are common triggers for blood sugar alterations.  But if you are not at optimal health, it is harder for your body to navigate these changes.  Weight gain, lack of exercise, poor food choices and unregulated stress are risk factors for high blood sugar that eventually leads to diabetes.

If you fall in this second category and are experiencing high blood sugar levels (pre-diabetes), you are in luck!  Unless there is an underlying medical condition, your situation is reversible.  So let’s talk about what you can do.

First off, let’s talk about food.  Did you know there is an easy way to tell if a food is good for you?  This is not an allergy or sensitivity test.  This is simply a way to tell if “your” body handles a particular food well.

  • On an empty stomach, take your pulse.  Write it down on a piece of paper.  http://www.wikihow.com/Check-Your-Pulse
  • Eat the food in question.  Only eat that food, do no eat anything else with it.
  • Wait thirty minutes, retake your pulse.  Write this second number down on the piece of paper.
  • After sixty minutes has gone by, check your pulse a third time.  Write it down.
  • Check it a fourth time after ninety minutes and write it down.
  • Now compare the four numbers.  If your heart rate has risen significantly at any point in this ninety minutes, this food is not right for you.  Any increase six beats or more is considered an indication of intolerance of that food.

These foods may or may not be off limits for you permanently.  Sometimes it is just a temporary sensitivity and is a response to an underlying issue.  Resolving this underlying issue can sometimes result in returned tolerance of the offending food.  Sometimes, however, it is a permanent sensitivity.

In addition to knowing what foods are good for your body, you can begin to design your eating plan around what will give you the maximum benefit.  You may have heard some mention of glycemic index.  This is a listing, a rating if you will, of foods and how they affect your blood sugar levels.  Starches, especially refined and processed ones, are your biggest offenders.  Breads, rices, pastas, sugars, treats (cookies, cakes, candies), dairy, white potatoes and some fruits can be trouble spots.  This does not mean you cannot eat them ever.  It means you need to monitor your intake of them.  Get to know how they affect you personally, and go from there.  Again, what spikes your friend’s blood sugar may or may not spike yours.  Each person is unique.

Next, starting your day off with breakfast is good for your thyroid, your metabolism, and contributes to steady energy levels throughout the day.  After a long night’s sleep, try starting your day with some healthy protein and fats.  Eggs, avocados, and greens are great options to get you going.  If you have no appetite right away, listen to your body and ease gently in to breakfast.  Some of us need to eat immediately, and some of us need to give it an hour or two.  Pay attention to how you feel when you eat versus when you don’t, and take notes in a journal if necessary.  Watch for patterns among your foods, behaviors, and mood or how your body feels.

In the meantime, here is a great breakfast idea for you to try:

Baked Eggs in Avocado

If you normally eat sandwiches or pastas for lunch, consider swapping them out for a salad.  Replace the grains with crunchy nuts and seeds full of omega threes and protein, and swap pastas for lower starch foods like sweet potatoes and squashes.  Packing a lunch for school or work?  No problem.  Check out these awesome Mason Jar Salads, complete with dressing!

30 Mason Jar Recipes: A Month Worth of “Salad in a Jar” Recipes

Dinners that offer a quality protein source, healthy fat, and nutritionally dense sides are your best bet.  If you are craving pasta, try the popular vegetable noodle recipes that are swarming the internet right now.  They’re delicious, and had my kids downing whole zucchinis in one meal!

50 Low-Carb Veggies Noodle Recipes

 

Looking for a sweet treat?  Replace your desserts with fresh or frozen berries.  Berries have a lower impact on blood sugar levels than melons and tropical fruits, such as papayas, mangos and even pineapples.  Whip up a little coconut cream and place a dollop on top.  Or better yet, eat with a spoonful of almond butter and cinnamon!  Here are some more dessert ideas that are low on sugars.

5-ingredient (or less!) desserts that are low in sugar

So now we understand what elevated blood sugar means, and we have some good dietary ideas on how to combat this.  Give these recipes a try and see what you think and how you feel.  Coming soon, we will talk about making some other easy (yet impactful) changes in our lifestyles that can further build your good health and prevent elevated blood sugar.

Immune Boosting (Almost) Summertime Soda

Immune Boosting (Almost) Summertime Soda

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Refreshing and fortifying?  Say it ain’t so!  But I tell you, it is!

Fortunately, we are pretty resilient and healthy in this household, but that doesn’t mean I don’t stock up on immune boosters when I catch wind of some virus going around.   A little pre-emptive strike never hurt anyone!  While we all are familiar with vitamin C and vitamin D and their benefits to our health, I love to utilize some of the lesser known beneficials.  I have a couple of reasons for this.

First, I have gotten away from relying on vitamins for health.  That is not to say that I don’t support their use, I do- just when it’s called for.  But if I can get nutrition from real food first, then you bet I will.  There are a number of inherent problems with vitamins in general.  Vitamins are often synthetic, produced in a lab to mimic their natural behavior.   It may seem the same as the natural form, but it behaves a little differently once it’s in our system.  Often, it’s less bioavailable to our bodies than the natural version.  What is bioavailability?  It describes how readily useable a nutrient is to our body.  What this often means is that the synthetic vitamins have to be packed with more nutrition in the first place because our body can only access so much from it.  In other words, they look higher in quantity of certain vitamins, but that’s because our body has to be supplied wth more in the first come to overcome the amount of nutrient it has no access to and will end up excreting, unused.

It’s also a popular practice to isolate properties and constituents from certain nutrients.  Research often focuses on  what makes a nutrient beneficial.  When they find one key component, this component gets isolated and sold in this form.  The intent is all well and good, to get straight to the most effective, impactful part of the nutrient.  But, what we often overlook in our search for the perfect magic bullet is that these foods are healthful in their entirety, not in their isolated constituents.  What I mean is that while this one constituent may certainly be beneficial for what the researchers found, what about the multitude of other constituents within this same food that are also beneficial?  Or more so, the fact these individual constituents all become ever more beneficial because they work synergistically together!  Our bodies do not work one individual part at a time, so why would a food?  It’s a living entity, too.

Manmade Vitamin C is usually combined with other unwanted goodies, like binders, fillers, and sugar!  The first two are just holding the pill together, and the last is added because otherwise it’s pretty unpalatable.  My kids have always begged for those vitamin C gummies and chewables.  Check the ingredients list.  Hey, look!  Sugar, right up there at the top of the list.  Which is ironic in a vitamin C immune boosting supplement, considering sugar is notorious for being an immune breaker.  So I have come to see these vitamins as a wash.   The bad ingredients wipe out the good.

Real food is often cheaper than supplements too.   We pay so much to be able to get our nutrients in a pill, a once and done thing.  Then we go eat food.  But since we have to eat food anyway, why not accomplish two goals in one fell swoop?  Get your vitamins from your food sources, and save your money.   Chances are, when you are eating clean, good quality foods, they will be sufficiently dosed in the vitamins you need to keep your system running well.  Processed, conventionally raised food may be cheaper at the outset, but you will just have to compensate later with more vitamins, supplements, and medical expenses.  It’s just filler.  Why not swap out your empty filler for health fortifying foods that taste delicious and save you in health and money down the road?  Plus, remember from above, the real food is jam packed with all the necessary components to give you the most effective boost!

So, what are my go-to boosters?  Well, any internet search for immune boosters will bring up myriad foods and herbs.  And that is a beautiful thing.  We have so much to choose from!  It’s empowering to see how many foods are able to supply our bodies with all the health we need.  For me, the fun lies in finding the right mix of ingredients to create something exciting and enjoyable.

 

During the winter we love hot, soothing teas.  They are so comforting.  But now as we enter the warm months, we needed something cooling, something refreshing.  So I took our wintertime favorite and put a little spin on it.

Ginger lemon tea is a staple in our house.  But to this I added turmeric for increased anti-inflammatory effects.  It also strengthens the effects of ginger, and vice versa.  And this was all well and good, but next came my new recent love.  Hibiscus flowers!  I love these little things.   I am talking about the dried petals from the hibiscus plant, and they are an excellent source of natural vitamin C.  As such, they provide a lovely little citrus flavor.  I usually sweeten this mixture with a good quality local honey, but it can be substituted with stevia if you prefer.

I tend to make this tea pretty concentrated.  We store this concoction in the fridge and use just a little at a time.  You can sip it off a spoon for a syrup-like dose, or do like we do- pour yourself a glass of Gerolsteiner mineral water, and add this mix for an indulgent flavor!

 

Immune Boosting Summertime Soda

  • 1/2″ piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1/2″ piece fresh turmeric root, peeled and grated
  • juice from 2 organic lemons
  • 1-2T. dried hibiscus flowers
  • sweetener of choice- honey or stevia, to taste

 

In a medium pot bring water almost to a boil, but not quite.  Add the fresh grated ginger and turmeric and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.

 * the longer steep time will increase the strength of flavor, and can add bitterness.  Especially with grated roots, taste after a few minutes to test for flavor.

Add the fresh squeezed lemon juice and remove the pot from the heat.  Add the hibiscus flowers now too.  Allow it to cool slightly, about 5-10 minutes.

While still warm, add the honey to taste.  If using stevia, you can add powered form while still warm and dissolve thoroughly.  Add liquid stevia a few drops at a time and test for sweetness.

*I make mine extra strong with the herbs.  I store it as a concentrate and water it down when I drink it, so I plan for that.  Though honey needs to be added while still warm, I often add the liquid stevia at the time of use.

 

Summer CSA Series with Growing the Seed & Indigo Yoga Loft

Summer CSA Series with Growing the Seed & Indigo Yoga Loft

Summer CSA Series with Growing the Seed & Indigo Yoga Loft

How to Prepare, Cook and Get the Most from Your Summer Produce!

I am very excited to announce a Summer series I’ll be teaching!  Summer means sun, fun, and great, fresh food!  Every year I look forward to all the beautiful local produce from our local farmers.  I’m a huge fan of the farmer’s markets around here, but I also love to be a part of a CSA.  What’s a CSA?  It stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

You buy in to a share of produce from a local farm.  Your payment guarantees you a box delivered every week full of fresh goodies from the farm.  You can choose between a full or half share, and some farms have additional options such as fresh milk or eggs.  It’s a great deal for you because you are guaranteed wonderful fresh, locally grown produce every week, but it’s great for our farmers because we are supporting them in their endeavors!  Win-win!

Why buy local?  It’s better for you.  The food has higher nutrition content because it travels less, is picked at ripeness, and delivered to your drop spot.  It’s better for the community because we are supporting local businesses.  It’s better for the environment because there’s no long distance travel involved!

CSA’s are a wonderful way to do good for yourself and your community, so what are you waiting for?  And once you’ve signed up, join me this summer and I will teach you how to get the most from your fruits and vegetables!

 

How to Prepare, Cook and Get the Most from Your Summer Produce!

Do you participate in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program but don’t know what to do with all of that fresh produce?  Join Meredith from Growing the Seed and Jill from Indigo Yoga Loft for our 10 class CSA series and let us help you think outside the produce box!  Participants will learn:

    • How to identify those fruits and vegetables in your box
    • Health benefits of your weekly delivery
    • Sample and enjoy weekly recipes and menu options
    • Learn quick and easy cooking techniques

When: every other Wednesday from 6pm-7pm beginning June 7, 2017

Where: Indigo Yoga Loft

Cost: $10 per class, $45 for 5, or $80 for 10.

RSVP: 412-257-3200