BIG NEWS! I am repeating my very popular and successful bootcamp, Raising Healthy Eaters. I feel really good about the fact that I launched three healthy eaters into the world and have helped hundreds of students with their kiddos. Take my course and you will be in very good hands. Here’s the info and I am even adding BONUS OFFICE HOURS if you need extra support or the class times don’t work well for you. Use the code KIDS100 for $100 OFF. Continue reading
My friend Alex sent me an email a few weeks ago with the subject line: “new obsession”. Alex and I have very similar tastes in food and she is also not one for melodrama, so I knew this was an email I was interested in reading. She proceeded to write: ” I have a new obsession. Full out obsession” with the recipe for a delicious-sounding “Turmeric Tea.” Thank you, Alex! Right up my alley. Print!
I don’t know what has taken me so long to wind down an evening, any evening, with a cup of warm, anti-inflammatory turmeric tea or latte. It’s everything I love — soothing, nourishing, delicious and might even help me sleep better to boot. The same day I received Alex’s email, a text came through from another girlfriend, whose husband was instructed to follow and anti-inflammatory diet. “Can you tell me what foods are anti-inflammatory? Need to get on this pronto!” First thing I wrote back was … turmeric.
I love turmeric in curries, stews, juices and I even add it to my homemade taco seasoning. Because turmeric runs bright, flaming yellow, I also use it in place of saffron sometimes (like in Mediterranean fish stew and paella.) It is truly one of the most healing, powerful foods on earth. I already mentioned turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties, but it is also an antioxidant, wound healer, digestive stimulant, liver detoxifier, helps to lower cholesterol, and has a warming thermal nature. I use fresh turmeric in juices, and ground in everything else for practical reasons. Turmeric has a very distinct, but mild flavor. Since it is related to ginger, it does have a faint hint of ginger, but also a bitter, tart, chalkiness, too. A little is nice, but a lot can be offensive. It also stains like crazy — from clothing to countertops — so be careful!
Since Alex’s email, I have made this beverage many, many times and guess what? I’m OBSESSED! It’s my new favorite drink, just in time for winter when I don’t really drink cooling juices as much. However I’m calling this a Turmeric Latte, since the base of it is milk. I use almond milk, because it’s my go-to and I always have homemade on hand. Of course you can use regular milk or your favorite alternative milk, or a combo of milks. I recently started playing around with adding a little cashew milk to almond to add a thick, creamy richness. More on that another time!
This turmeric latte is beyond delightful and the perfect way to settle into a restful evening. It is also quite easy to prepare and you might even have all the ingredients on hand. I would start with the basic recipe below and then change it to suit your taste/needs. For example, it would be perfectly easy to use a few drops of stevia to sweeten instead of the maple syrup. Or a couple pinches of ground ginger instead of fresh. If you love turmeric, feel free to add more.
As we near the end of 2014, I know many of you have resolutions of better health and adopting new habits on the brain. I hope this post catches you in time, as I think drinking a turmeric latte a few times a week is a resolution I can stick to. How about you?
I have been in a bit of a juice rut lately, making the same ones over and over again. The bad news is that this boredom with my juice caused me to be less motivated to actually juice, and therefore I have been missing out on of the things that puts a spring in my step and makes me feel healthy. My typical juice consists of greens (romaine, spinach, kale, or parsley or a combo), celery, apple, carrot, ginger and/or fresh turmeric. Very good, but the same formula day in and day out was making me bored.
My friend and holistic nutritionist, Elissa Goodman, who is also a juicing queen, mentioned that she juices sweet potatoes. I honestly never considered juicing sweet potatoes. Roasting them and blending them into a smoothie is as close as I have come. But I was curious about how they would juice, so I went for it and was just pleased as punch. Sweet potatoes are JUICY!
It’s kind of like juicing a carrot, with a lovely mild sweetness. So I started playing around and created a new, very different juice, one more seasonal for fall. Sweet potatoes and apple go hand in hand, so I put those together. But I personally don’t care for overly sweet juices, so I added some celery to create some more liquid without sugar. And then I boosted the flavor some more with fresh ginger and a small nub of turmeric. The first time around I made the juice fairly spicy, which I loved, but the hubby thought was too gingery. The second time, it was total perfection.
The cinnamon is a really fun addition. You can add a pinch of ground cinnamon, but I don’t love the powderiness since it doesn’t dissolve. I had great results steeping a cinnamon stick in the juice. SO, so yummy.
I made a huge pitcher of this juice for a breakfast meeting and I served it over ice with a cinnamon stick in each glass. It was such a huge hit and I was so happy to share something so healthful. Everything in this juice is super anti-inflammatory, especially the sweet potatoes, ginger and turmeric. Sweet potatoes are also very rich in Vitamin C, E, B6 and Beta-carotene, which is amazing for your skin, eyes and hair.
I am going to keep playing with this base. I had a juice recently at Sage Organic Bistro in Culver City with grapefruit in it that was outstanding and I’m thinking it might work nicely here, too. I’m also considering making a huge batch for Thanksgiving and adding a drop of alcohol to make a fun cocktail.
I haven’t had a ton of experience working with different juicers, so I can’t make a good recommendation as to which to buy if you’re in the market for one. I have an Omega, which is very nice, but the feed tube is so small that it’s a little too much work cutting everything into small enough pieces. I have the Breville at our house in Park City and that is a breeze to use. There’s a lot of controversy about juicers that juice slowly versus fast and the vitamins being compromised, but as Kris Carr, the doyenne of juicing, says, “the best juicer is the one you’ll use.” Williams-Sonoma has a nice selection of juicers here if you’re thinking about buying one.
I’d love to hear what juicer you have and what you love or hate about it. I’d also be curious if you have a favorite fall juice. I’m motivated again!
1 large sweet potato, peeled (about 10-12 ounces) -- you don't have to peel the sweet potato, but the skin darkens the color of the juice
1” piece of fresh ginger or more if you like it spicy
4” piece of fresh turmeric (if you can find it)
1 medium apple or Fuyu persimmon
2 stalks celery
Juice all ingredients except cinnamon stick. Be sure to juice the ginger and turmeric early on so you can flush out those juices with something high water like the celery.
Place the cinnamon stick in a glass and pour juice on top. Allow to steep for a few minutes or refrigerate the juice with the cinnamon stick until you want to consume it.
Always store juice in the smallest container possible with little or no air at the top so that the juice stays fresher for longer. Store up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Separation will occur, so shake before serving.
We made it to Barcelona! Neither my husband, the kids , nor I has ever been to Barcelona before, and hubby and I haven’t been to Spain in 17 years! We are very excited to start our European vacation here. So much to see and do in a short amount of time!
As you would imagine, I am fairly obsessed with what people eat around the world. As much as I love visiting landmarks and museums and churches (I am actually also obsessed with churches), local markets and restaurants are high on my list of places to experience. I am fairly open-minded when it comes to trying new foods, although I am not a huge fan of meat, game and pork. I know, my options will be limited in Barcelona since every other menu item contains some sort of the above mentioned. Moderation is my mantra.
I am for sure on the lookout for excellent paella, which is basically like the national rice dish of Spain. I L-O-V-E rice in any way, shape or form. Paella is particularly delicious because it is typically cooked with lots of seafood, chicken, pork and some other tidbits like olives and roasted peppers all mixed together in the same saffron-infused dish. It’s so tasty. And it’s basically Mr. Picky’s nightmare since he would eat all of those things PLAIN, and “why did they have to mess this up by cooking it all together?!” I already gave Mr. Picky a pep talk before we left about being open-minded about food, otherwise he might ended up starving, or worse, really cranky. I’ll keep you posted, friends. Wish me luck.
Whether I find the perfect paella in Barcelona or not (and if you know where I should go, speak up!), I did teach this Vegetable Paella in my cooking classes this past spring. And I might admit, it was so flavorful and rich even without all the meat. You don’t normally find paella loaded with vegetables, and I find that true about a lot of the dishes in Spain – not very veggie-heavy, unless you count (fried) potatoes as a veg. Asparagus, peppers, artichokes (by all means, use frozen), tomatoes, mushrooms all go in here. I did make this several times for my vegetarian students with veggie stock, and it was very good, but I do prefer using chicken stock.
The one ingredient that is missing from this paella recipe that makes it an imposter and non-authentic is saffron, which gives the rice a beautiful gold color and imparts a unique flavor. Saffron is absurdly expensive and I have always had success substituting a bit of ground turmeric for saffron when I need that great yellow tint. If you have saffron however, by all means use it by crumbling it and dissolving it in some hot stock.
I love eating this paella with a green salad on the side and that’s it (although a pitcher of sangria wouldn’t hurt.) More from Barcleona to come, including my quest for the best paella!
2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
¼ cup drained sliced jarred pimientos, chopped (one 4-ounce jar) or equivalent amount of roasted red pepper, diced
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped or ½ an 18-ounce jar of diced tomatoes, drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt (or more if your stock is unsalted)
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika or sweet pimenton
1 ½ cups rice, preferably medium grain such as bomba or arborio
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off and discarded, spears cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas
6 ounces artichoke hearts, either frozen and thawed or jarred and drained*
optional: serve with lemon wedges on the side
In a large skillet pan (between 12-14 inches,) heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the pimientos, tomato and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
Stir in the salt, both paprikas, turmeric, and rice. Add the chicken stock and parsley and bring to a boil. Continue cooking over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, about 7 minutes.
Stir in the asparagus, peas, and artichokes. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
*to give the artichokes some extra flavor, pat them dry and sauté them in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
you can also add mushrooms to the paella to add a meatiness. Sauté with onion in Step 1.
You all know I live in Southern California and perhaps you know we are having a very mild, but super dry winter. We actually have a serious drought happening here. And you might also know that 99% of my entire family lives in the New York/New Jersey area. And they’re having a veerrryy different kind of winter.
So most of our phone calls the last few weeks have been kind of like this:
Me: “Hi! It’s me. What’s new?”
Sister/Mother/Father: “It’s snowing. AGAIN. The kids are off from school. AGAIN. It’s absolutely freezing out there. Seriously, this is the worst winter EVER!”
Me: “Bummer. But I asked, ‘what’s neeeewwww?'”
Same old, same old. I miss the talks we used to have about currents events, movies, what we’re making for dinner, what we ate for lunch. Interesting, riveting stuff. Instead, it’s all blizzard all the time! Thankfully, winter doesn’t last forever and they’ll all be able to get back to business before we know it. Easy for me to say, I’m sure.
But if I were in the middle of a polar vortex, I would quickly buy a one-way ticket to L.A. I would make super-warming foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We may not be able to control the weather, but we can control the thermal nature of what we eat. And I say, heat me up! High on my list would be this Moroccan chicken with dates which I taught in my classes last February. I know it seems like there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but half of them are spices, all of which are warming to the body, and anti-inflammatory, too. These spices, including ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin and a pinch of cayenne are also quite flavorful and make this otherwise simple chicken dish, something very special. There’s also a little bit of sweetness from the cinnamon and from halved dates which rank as one of my favorite foods on the planet. A little earthy, a little sweet, a touch spicy and a little tart — it’s one of my favorite chicken recipes!
In these images, and for dinner last night, I served this with an apricot couscous (I’ll post the recipe next week.) This will have a very tasty, but brothy sauce which just begs for something to sop it up. Couscous, which is pretty dry, is the perfect side dish. But you don’t need to make it with any seasonings or herbs. Even plain would be just the right side for this dish. Otherwise, if you’re gluten-free, steamed rice, quinoa or millet would be amazing here. I also served it for dinner with simply sautéed Swiss chard, but check out this recipe for raw grated carrot and beet salad. That would be fabulous, too.
I have made this recipe in the slow cooker, as well. Please read the directions for how to adjust this recipe for the slow cooker. Both versions are amazing and will help warm up your core. At least until the next snowfall or tomorrow, or both, as the case might be!
3 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts such as breasts (I like them split), thighs or drumsticks, seasoned with 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt when you get home from the market or brined for an hour (1/4 cup kosher salt + 2 cups water) EXCEPT if you use kosher chicken. See this post for how and why to brine chicken.
1 Tablespoon unrefined coconut oil or olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric (feel free to add more if you like it)
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 ½ cups chicken stock
5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
12 dates, pitted and halved
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, if you like it
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and add to the pot in one layer. Do not overcrowd. Cook until browned on the underside, then turn over and browned on the other side, about 15 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet or platter and repeat with remaining chicken if there’s some still left to do.
Add onions and carrots to the pot and sauté until tender and translucent, about 6 minutes.
Add cinnamon sticks, salt and remaining spices. Sauté about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
Add stock, 3 Tablespoons lemon juice and dates. Deglaze the pan by scraping the brown bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, add chicken pieces back to pot skin-side up and cover. Lower heat and simmer until chicken is completely cooked through, about 40-45 minutes. An instant-red thermometer should read 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.
Add lemon juice to pot and stir to combine. If sauce needs thickening, transfer chicken to a platter and simmer sauce until it is reduced. Sprinkle everything with cilantro and serve.
SLOW COOKER VERSION:
Use bone-in, skinLESS pieces of chicken Use a skillet to brown chicken, and sauté vegetables and spices. Add only ¾ cup of stock to the pan and the same amount of lemon juice as in the original recipe to deglaze the pan. Do not add the dates until 20 minutes before serving. Transfer the browned chicken, and the vegetable, spice, stock and lemon juice mixture to the slow cooker and cook covered on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours. 20 minutes before serving, stir dates into the slow cooker. Add remaining lemon juice and garnish with cilantro, if desired.
I have been consistently making Monday our meatless night, although I often have another vegetarian dinner during the week as well. This week I was excited to cook something with one of the many winter squashes I have bought recently. I taught this vegan butternut squash and chickpea stew last February and I was waiting for the change in seasons to make it again. As opposed to most stews, this one doesn’t take hours to cook and was perfect for a busy weeknight. Actually, I was so busy on Monday that I had to serve it with white basmati rice instead of brown rice (nobody’s perfect!) I also made a delicious kale salad with avocados, pomegranates and sliced almonds. It was the perfect meal for me. I also love this stew because it can be made the day before and reheated, or made earlier in the afternoon and left on the stove, off the heat, until dinner time.
I was really delighted that my son, also known as, but soon to be formerly known as, Mr. Picky, ate everything on his plate (kale, chickpeas, carrots, onions, rice) except the butternut squash. This is major progress and I am very encouraged by how far he has come since the days not too long ago when he wouldn’t have eaten a single bite of this stew. Small steps, but they all get there eventually.
This stew has a little bit of a Moroccan kick to it. I used really flavorful (and anti-inflammatory) spices like turmeric, ginger, coriander and a little cayenne. The cayenne gives it just enough heat, but not too much that you would think this is spicy. I think this would be delicious for a Halloween dinner, whether you are entertaining or just filling everyone up before trick-or-treating. That’s my strategy, you know. I don’t prohibit the kids from eating a little candy on Halloween night, but I give them a nice hearty, substantial dinner so they’re not hungry when they leave the house. Pretty tricky, Mom!
2 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil or olive oil (I use coconut oil and I really like Barlean’s)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt + extra for seasoning at the end
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground turmeric (feel free to add more if you like it)
½ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
3 cups 1-inch cubes of peeled butternut squash (about 1 ½ pounds)
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced or 14 ounces boxed, drained
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas or 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
a handful of golden raisins or currants
1 cup chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 1 minute or until fragrant.
Add salt, pepper and all spices to the onions. Sauté for a minute.
Add the squash and carrots and toss to coat with the spices.
Add tomatoes, lemon juice, chickpeas, raisins and stock/water. Bring to a boil and cover. Lower the heat and simmer over low or medium/low heat until squash is tender and flavors have melded, about 40 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add extra salt and pepper as desired.
Feel free to stir some spinach or chopped chard leaves in at the end. Delicious served over quinoa, millet, rice, spaghetti squash or couscous.
I am 100% Italian and I absolutely love pasta, but I also looooooove rice. Love! I am crazy about all kinds of rice and it shows in my pantry. I have so many varieties of both white and brown rice and I never get tired of it. Overeating pasta doesn’t make me feel great and makes it very hard for me to maintain any semblance of an ideal weight. But I digest rice really well and I think it’s so versatile and really easy to pair with food from any cuisine, even Italian!
I know rice has gotten some bad media attention in the last year due to some scary reports about unsafe levels of arsenic found in many rice products. Please read this article I wrote last year so that you are informed and don’t get freaked out. There are ways you can significantly reduce any arsenic present in whole rice (not much you can do about arsenic in rice cakes or rice cereal, which is why I have reduced the kids’ exposure to rice-derived products.) Basmati rice, which I think has the best flavor and is my favorite variety, also seems to have the least amount of arsenic. Lucky me!
I have a beautiful and very healthful rice recipe I’d like to share and I don’t want you to get scared off by the unusual color or that I labeled it “Indian.” I know there are some of you out there who think you don’t like Indian food. And maybe you tried some from a not-so-great place and it was lousy. In that case, I don’t blame you. BUT. Let’s leave the past behind and look forward to something that IS delicious. Furthermore, this rice recipe is so basic and neutral. It’s not spicy nor doesn’t it have a flavor that is outside of most people’s comfort zone. It will go with that roast chicken you’re making later or my spice-rubbed salmon. And if you’re vegetarian, you can just eat this bowl of golden goodness with a green salad or some roasted vegetables (eggplant is nice right now) and you’ll be all set. Rice and peas together will give you plenty of protein, not to worry.
The crazy beautiful color of this rice comes from turmeric, the most talked about, most popular spice of the moment that is basically anti everything you don’t want. Anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, etc. Someone just told me that there was a study done on Indians (people living in India) because they have the lowest incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and it is attributed to their abundant intake of turmeric. I try to use fresh turmeric when I juice and I have been using it in place of saffron, as well (like in that vegetable paella I was talking about.) I have also included turmeric in my DIY taco seasoning and Chicken and Vegetable Curry. Just be forewarned, it stains like mad so use extra caution when serving anything with turmeric, even be careful of your countertops. (As a last resort, I have had success using a drop of Clorox Clean-up to get out a stubborn turmeric stain in my white marble countertops.)
If you have leftovers of this rice, definitely consider using it in lunchboxes the next day. Are we surviving making lunches?? See this post if you’re still at a loss. Back to rice — make this! Try something new! Let me know how it goes!
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, coconut oil or olive oil (I think butter tastes best.)
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric (you can use more, but you’ll taste it)
2 cloves crushed garlic
½ cup frozen peas
chopped cilantro to taste, if desired
Rinse your rice in a fine mesh sieve, if desired. Transfer rice to a medium saucepan and add all ingredients except peas and cilantro.
Bring to a boil, cover and lower to a simmer. Cook white rice for 18-20 minutes, brown rice for 45-50 minutes, or until all water has evaporated.
Add frozen peas to rice and allow to sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
Fluff rice with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, if desired.
If you are concerned about arsenic, you should soak your rice in water for 1-8 hours before using it. That process also makes brown rice more digestible. If you do soak the rice, you will cook it in less time and you can use a few Tablespoons less water, depending on how long you soaked it. Test brown rice for doneness after 35 minutes, and white rice after 15 minutes.
I think Indian food is very misunderstood in this country. Many people have the impression it’s overly spicy, heavy and greasy. Perhaps it’s because there aren’t a plethora of great Indian restaurants here and very often the not-so-great ones do serve oily, creamy dishes. Who knows, but that’s not what Indian food is all about. I started experimenting with Indian-inspired recipes about a year ago and fell in love.
I am especially crazy about the many versions of Dal, which simply means “lentils.” (By now you’ve figured out the name of this recipe is somewhat redundant, “Red Lentil Lentil.”) The lentils used in Dal are not the brown or French lentils commonly eaten here, but a split lentil which almost looks like a lentil flake. What is so fantastic about these lentils is that they cook up quickety-quick so they are perfect for a last minute meal.
What’s lucky for me is that Mr. Picky loves lentils. Yeah, yeah, how can I call him picky if he eats lentils? Because he won’t eat a hundred other things that most kids do eat! Regardless, his palate has been developing slowly and I was thrilled when he tried brown lentils for the first time. From that moment on, all lentils were fair game. Sure enough, after I told him this dal was “lentils,” he shrugged his shoulders and said “OK, I’ll have some.” Happy dance!
Dal is very nutritious (loaded with fiber, protein and iron) and easy to digest. Since the lentils are split, they don’t hold their shape the way common lentils do. In fact, they become kind of mushy which I find to be so comforting. Mmmmmmm! But like I mentioned, split lentils can be made so many different ways — from thin and watery to stick-a-fork-in-it-thick. The lentils themselves have a very subtle flavor and benefit from some flavorful (and very anti-inflammatory) spices. That doesn’t mean dal has to be hot spicy. This version here is soupy, but not brothy, flavorful, but not overpowering — for me, it’s just right. But the beauty of dal is that you can make this to suit your taste. Since the kids started school, I have been working quite a bit more and lately I have been feeling a little out of balance. You know when you just need a comfy blanket and a little R&R? Dal to the rescue!
Add the mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop, about 1 minute.
Add the garlic, ginger and remaining spices. Sauté for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
Stir in the onion, carrot and tomato. Sprinkle with salt and cook until just tender.
Add lentils and stir to coat with the vegetables and spices. Pour in the water or stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until lentils are broken up, about 20 minutes. Taste for seasonings. Serve on its own or with a dollop of yogurt or raita.