Grateful for Grains – 7 quick recipes you’ll crave

This weekend was super busy for me – you too?!

Yeah, thought so.

 

School started (for both my son and me) and I’m busy putting together a big launch plan for my book, Women, Food & Desire, which comes out 1/6/15.

 

And healthy food can (even in my house) feel like a chore when we have so much going on.

And yes – I still crave sugar when things get hectic, but I don’t feel good when I eat it – headaches, brain fog, bacterial overgrowth.

So my sweets need to come from real food that doesn’t drain me.

Quick Rice Pudding

I know when I have simple, healthy foods on hand, I can juggle the kid, work, and friend time much better.

 

So, I’m getting back to my food roots as we move into fall –

simple, humble, whole grain, brown rice.

 

I like to make a pot of brown rice and use it as an easy side dish or quick lunch.

 

Plus, whole grains help me keep sugar cravings at bay.

How?

Well, when you get enough complex carbohydrates, and chew them well, your body and brain get the energy they need, in a slow drip over the day.

 

So make up a pot of brown rice (or quinoa for the grain-averse) and use it 7 ways this week!

 

Simple pot of brown rice:

 

3 cups short grain brown rice

 

Rinse rice in 2 changes of water.

Put into a pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches.

Bring to a boil over high heat.

Lower head to low, and cover.

Simmer for 40 minutes.

Turn heat off and let sit for 20 minutes.

This allows the steam to keep cooking the rice.

 

 

7 quick recipes that re-use brown rice:

 

  • sushi roll up

wrap a ¼ cup of rice in a sheet of nori paper with a few shredded carrots and enjoy the hand held treat

Quick Rice Sushi Roll rice 2 rice 3

  • brown rice pudding with cinnamon

warm rice in a small pot with coconut milk, a few organic raisins and some cinnamon

 

  • stir fry with greens

heat rice in a pan with coconut oil and chopped bok choy, sprinkle with soy-free soy sauce, ‘coconut aminos’ or tamari

 

  • miso stew

heat 2 cups of water with 1 cup of rice, and whisk in 1 tablespoon chickpea miso for a quick soy-free soup

 

  • rice salad

toss leftover rice with your favorite salad dressing for a side dish

 

  • rice pasta

heat 2 cups rice with a little olive oil and 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce and add favorite pasta veggies

 

  • rice balls with sesame seeds

roll ¼ cup rice on a plate with ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds and 1/2 teaspoons sea salt – yummy little rice balls!

 

 

As with every meal, give a little gratitude for your simple, whole-grain meal.

 

Research shows that gratitude practices, even a tiny “thanks for the grub!” over your miso stew, helps you feel more optimistic, lowers stress, and increases your happiness.

 

I know I’m grateful for my grains,

And I’m grateful for you, my online “clan of the crave bears” –

 

Have a beautiful week,

and enjoy your rice!

 

Xo,

Alex

 

P.S. chewing your grains is super important, especially if you suspect leaky gut or have any bloating or tummy issues. Chewing until your grains are almost liquid helps your body digest them better – and we want happy bellies!

 

 

Sugar-Free Baked Bananas Foster Recipe

Crave sweet, but avoiding sugar? Sugar Free Baked Bananas Foster!

We all love sweet – it’s normal, natural, and very human. I like sugar so much growing up that I had 12 cavities by the age of 12 – yikes! (You’re welcome, Dr. Dentist!) In fact, liking sweet flavors is the only taste preference human babies are born with. Every other taste we develop is learned, so you’re super-natural, sweet tooth baby! BUT (there’s always a BUT, right?) you may be off sugar while detoxing or cleansing…

(like in my 8-week Cravings Cleanse, starting 9/23!)

So what do you do, especially in those first few days, when sugar cravings strike?

Healthy Bananas Foster? Yes!

Healthy Bananas Foster? Yes!

Answer with a naturally sweet dessert of course! This baked banana recipe is just like the Bananas Foster my New Orleans-loving Dad likes to make -without the extra sugar and ice cream! I adapted this recipe to work for all 3 cravings types, so wether you’re Firebrand, FeatherWeight or Earth Mama (or Earth Papa), you can enjoy the simple flavors and spices to help answer your sweet tooth calling:

Sugar-Free Baked Bananas Foster!

Serves 2

  • 2 bananas*, peeled and split in half long
  • Juice of 1 orange* about 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardomom
  • 2 tablespoons organic raisins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Arrange split bananas in a baking dish, side by side. In a mixing bowl, combine milk, orange juice and spices. Whisk well and pour over bananas.
  3. Scatter raisins on top.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, until beginning to brown.
  5. Carefully scoop bananas onto plates or bowls and spoon the sauce from the baking dish over each portion.

*Firebrand Fix: Use 2 pitted apricots instead of bananas. *Earth Mama Swap: Use 2 pitted peaches instead of bananas, and use apple juice instead of orange juice.

This raw soup is my best trick for quitting sugar…

Yes, I do an “extreme” raw vegetable cleanse sometimes…

In fact, I do it once a month lately.

Why? I love how it feels. 

I avoid any foods that may have crept back into my diet that can clog up my works (better known as the Toxic 6: gluten, dairy, corn, soy, sugar and caffeine) and enjoy a 3-day fest of non-starchy vegetables.

It resets my metabolism, calms my cravings for sugar, and flattens my belly…

So I offered the plan to the people in my Cravings Cleanse group, and they dove in.

Here’s my favorite, rich, satisfying avocado soup:

Raw Pro 3-Day Kick Start: Avocado Soup (image by  Sarah Hammond)

Raw Pro 3-Day Kick Start: Avocado Soup (image by Sarah Hammond)

 

Here’s how you can make this delicious, filling Avocado Soup:

This soup is filled with alkaline ingredients, and the fat from the avocado is very satisfying and helps your body burn fat rather than sugars from carbs, the best way to lose weight while balancing your mood. 

1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 lemon, rind and seeds removed
3-4 romaine lettuce leaves, washed

1 cup cucumber (peeled if very thick skin)

1 stalk celery

1⁄4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

2-3 cups water

  1. Put all in blender and blend until smooth
  2. Extra stores well in an airtight container for later in the day. 

Gluten-Free Summer Crepes with Berries: July 4th Dessert Recipe

The perfect July 4th brunch for every cravings type!

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Gluten-Free Crepe Recipe for Summer – every cravings type can enjoy!

Eating right for your type

is helpful for keeping your energy, focus on health on track. But what if you have a couple of friends coming over, or there are two types in your house living under the same roof?


(Take the Cravings Type Quiz here to find out your type!) 

Luckily, I’ve learned how to adjust one recipe for all the types – and this summer crepe recipe is great for everyone with a couple of minor changes depending on who’s coming to brunch! Not only is it gluten-free, but you can easily make these crepes dairy-free by using coconut cream (you know, the thick stuff at the top of the can?) instead of whipped cream.
 
With cooling summer berries, these crepes use high-protein amaranth and quinoa flour, which help the light-headed featherweight feel grounded and strong.

Firebrands and Featherweights can choose between organic whipped cream or coconut cream as a topping, while Earth Mama types should avoid the topping and just enjoy the crepe and fruit as too much dairy and coconut can make an Earth Mama (or Papa) feel heavy and muddy.

 

Gluten-Free Crepes with Summer Berries

Serves 4

For the crepes:

1 cup quinoa flour
2/3 cup amaranth flour
3 tablespoons brown rice flour
1 cup water
1 ½ cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil for cooking the crepes

For the filling:

2 cups mixed organic berries
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:

1 cup organic whipped cream or unsweetened coconut cream

Directions:

  1. Combine the flours in a blender with the water, milk and maple syrup. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
  2. While the crepe batter is resting, prepare the fruit. Wash and dry the berries and toss with remaining maple syrup and cinnamon. Allow to marinate at room temperature.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons ghee or coconut oil on a crepe pan or other non-toxic non-stick pan over medium heat. Stir the batter and ladle a scoop into the middle of the pan. Spread out the batter thinly in a circle. Cook the crepe until the bottom has browned, about 2 minutes.
  4. Flip the crepe and cook until the other side is browned, about 1 to 2 minutes more.
  5. Remove the crepe from the pan and place on a plate or clean baking dish and cover with a lid to allow it to cool, but not lose too much moisture.
  6. Keep making crepes until all the batter is gone.
  7. Serve each crepe with a scoop of berries in the middle, and roll it up around them. Top with whipped cream or coconut cream and a nice little sprig of mint, if it’s handy.

Sugar-Free Summer: My favorite drinks to help beat the heat

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sugar-free iced tea recipes to beat the summer heat

Here comes summer!

I couldn’t be happier that the summer solstice is just around the corner.

But all that summer outdoor play-time makes a girl thirsty! Rather than overload my body and brain with sugary sweet frappuccino (aka “adult milkshakes”) drinks, I’m making my own SWEET-ISH summer drinks with herbal teas and spices.

If you have sugar cravings like I do, you can help your taste buds get the sweet flavor they love without the sugar by keeping iced herbal teas on hand.

In this picture you see a rooibos with vanilla, chamomile, and mint teas all chilling in the window.

 

I boil a big pot of water, then steep my favorite flavored teas of the day for a few minutes before pouring them into glass jars.

After the tea cools to room temperature, I’ll put lids on and child them in the fridge for a while before drinking.

My FAVORITE recipe is the Vanilla Rooibos:

Caffeine free, antioxidant rich, and rich in minerals like magnesium, zinc and iron, this red tea is slightly honey flavored without being sweetened.

Steep 1 tablespoon rooibos tea in 2-3 cups hot water. Once the tea is steeped, pour over a freshly cracked vanilla bean and allow the vanilla to flavor the tea. I leave the bean in until I’ve drunk every drop. Vanilla is so strong, you can use the same bean again for tomorrow’s batch!

Vanilla beans can get expensive, but I get them CHEAP in the bulk section of my co-op. For less than $3 I can get 2-4 beans, which is pretty good for the real stuff.

Sugar free teas can’t be beat!

If sugar cravings are totally annoying you,

learn what your cravings type is -

take my Cravings Quiz and get the free 30 page report! www.cravingsquiz.com

xo,

Alex

Summer Soups for your Cravings Types

We all know we’re supposed to eat more veggies – but the call of creamy, fatty dairy may be stronger than the whisper of greens!

If you know dairy doesn’t help you feel light, makes you congested, or worsens your adult acne, but you still crave the creamy texture, and want to up your fiber and phyto-nutrient intake, try my new summer soup recipes!

I’ve created them especially for the different Cravings Types (read: Ayurvedic doshas) – and if you don’t know your type yet, take the quiz here and find out if you’re a Featherweight, Firebrand or Earth mama/Earth papa!

Slurp up your soups!

 

Avocado Soup with Cucumber: Serves 2

Firebrand and Featherweight Approved

(not good for Earth Mama/Papa – too heavy with the oils and avocado)

 

Gluten-free Dairy-free creamy Curry Carrot & Avocado Soup!

Gluten-free Dairy-free creamy Curry Carrot & Avocado Soup!



Light and fresh, this summer soup is easy and requires no cooking – no hot stoves for those summer meals! Featherweights can add freshly ground black pepper to warm them up from the inside. Firebrands can chill in the refrigerator while resting the soup after the first blending. This soup has too much oil in it for heavy feeling Earth Mamas and Papas. Find your Cravings type here!

 YOU’LL NEED: 

1 tablespoon organic, cold-pressed olive oil

1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted

1 cup fresh carrot juice

1 cup water

½ cup cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon ground corander

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh fennel leaves

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, about ½ an orange

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup freshly grated zucchini

 

  1. Combine all ingredients, except zucchini, in a blender. Blend until smooth. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  2. Blend once more for 15 seconds, pour into bowls and top with grated zucchini.

 

 

Summer Pea & Zucchini Soup: Serves 2

Good for all 3 types, especially

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Creamed Minty Pea & Zucchini Soup: Gluten-free and Dairy-free soups for summer!


Fresh peas are vibrant and flavorful. This creamy green soup really delivers satisfying slurps for the heavy-feeling Earth Mama or Earth Papa. Firebrands will love this too, just allow it to cool to room temperature before serving. Featherweights can enjoy with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper! (Don’t know your Craving Type yet? Take the quick quiz here! www.cravingsquiz.com)

 YOU’LL NEED

2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

1 tablespoon chickpea flour (thickener)

½ cup zucchini, sliced

1 cup freshly shelled peas

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

 

  1. Add 1-cup stock to a small mixing bowl. Whisk in the chickpea flour. Set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining stock, zucchini, peas and mint in the saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Whisk in the chickpea mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Simmering the chickpea flour thickens the soup and removes the bitter flavor from the flour.
  3. Ladle into a blender and blend with salt and lemon juice until smooth.
  4. Featherweights can add a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

 Like these soups? 

In the comments below, I’d love to know what you thought of the recipes, and what other ideas you have for us!

(P.S. these recipes are just an example of what you’ll enjoy in my upcoming Cravings Cleanse 8-week program – can’t wait to share it!!) 

Chocolate IS Love… Vegan Valentine Recipes with Raw Cacao

Chocolate is Love.

At least that’s what our brains think.

See, when we eat chocolate, a whole cascade of happy chemicals and hormones get triggered, making us feel a bit high, happy, relaxed and excited all at the same time.

 

Kinda like love.

Raw Cacao Truffle Recipe

Phenylethylamine is often called the “love drug,” a unique caffeine with stimulating physiological effects, fatty acids called cannabinoids (yes, relatives of those found in pot), which make you feel relaxed and intoxicated, and all of this leads to a release of the pleasure-producing hormones dopamine and serotonin.

 

Top it all off with a dose of sugar normally found in our cocoa treats, and you’ve got a world-class super drug.

 

With all of these happy high chemicals coming in legal, cheap, bite-sized nuggets, it’s amazing we aren’t all on the streets collecting pop bottles and turning tricks to get another fix! (Too much? Ok, maybe just collecting pop bottles…)

 

Luckily, the amounts of these mind-altering chemicals found in chocolate are relatively small compared with other drugs like marijuana, ecstasy, and morphine. Our modern brains are used to the amounts and effects of the pleasure-inducing chemicals released by our coffee, tea, cocoa, and energy drinks, and we can only produce so much dopamine. When we eat a ton of chocolate and release a bunch of dopamine, our bodies immediately seek balance by shutting down the hormone production. This leads to desensitization to both dopamine and chocolate’s effects over time.

 

Which makes me think we should all be living slightly cleaner lives with less caffeine, sugar and other “happy drugs” so that we can really enjoy the effects of chocolate more!

Cacao pod, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Cacao pod

HISTORY OF CACAO

Cacao flowers, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Cacao flowers, Costa Rica

Humans weren’t the first culinary smarties to figure out that cacao seeds were edible. They learned it from watching monkeys. Found in pods growing in South American rain forests, cacao seeds are covered with a slimy, slightly-sweet gel, sort of like leechee fruit.

 

Monkeys and people first cracked open the pods, sucked on the fruit and spat out the seeds. The raw seeds inside were bitter and pretty gross, so few animals or humans ate them, even though they were high in fat.

 

Carrying these seeds along their migrations caused the cacao trees to spread throughout South America and Central America.

 

But what happened next in chocolate’s history took a stroke of luck: someone realized that when you fermented and then roasted those seeds before eating them, the bitter flavor diminished and the ambrosia-like aroma of chocolate began to tickle their noses.

 

Once fermented and roasted, those bitter cacao beans begin to smell like melting chocolate. Grind the seeds, add some sugar, cinnamon, and chili pepper, and you’ve got a Water of the Gods, or cacao agua.

 

I recently visited a rainforest cacao plantation in Costa Rica and watched the traditional methods for making cacao agua, as well as tasting the fruits, and learning about the lifecycle of this magical food.

Raw Cacao Fruit, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Raw Cacao Fruit

 

Until you can get yourself down to Central America to experience this for yourself, I’ve created a few healthy, delicious cacao (raw cocoa bean) recipes to enjoy with your Valentine, or any time!

 

Hot Chocolate of the Gods

Hot Chocolate of the Gods: Vegan Valentine's Hot Cocoa | Raw Cacao Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate of the Gods: Vegan Valentine’s Hot Cocoa | Raw Cacao Hot Chocolate

I know, that’s a bold statement – really, Alex? Chocolate of the Gods? That’s quite a boast for a cup of hot cocoa. I’m telling you! I first drank something like this recipe in Costa Rica on a chocolate plantation in the jungle, and had my first out-of-body experience. In short, I think I saw God. At least I saw chocolate, and for me, that’s pretty good.

2 pitted Medjool dates

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup water

1/8 tsp cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons raw cacao powder

pinch sea salt

*1/8 tsp cayenne powder (optional – this is how the ancients did it)

* ¼ tsp peppermint extract (optional – don’t combine if using cayenne)

Directions:

Combine all in a blender and blend until super smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until heated through.  Pour into mugs, cozy up under a blanket, turn on Cousins, Diva, or Downton Abbey (or any other romantic movie) and enjoy!

Date Night: Cacao Nibs in Dates

Date Night: Raw Cacao and Medjool Dates, Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Date Night: Raw Cacao, Almond Butter and Medjool Dates

Medjool Dates, Date Night, Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Medjool Dates, Date Night, Raw Cacao Recipe

 

4 Medjool dates, pitted and halved

1 tablespoon cacao nibs

1 tablespoon almond butter

Directions:

Scoop ½ teaspoon into each half of the pitted dates. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and gently press in with your finger so the nibs stick. Serve to your loved one on Date Night!

Goddess Truffles

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe

Whether you’re serving them to a Goddess, or you ARE a goddess, these raw cacao truffles are super easy, delicious, and won’t tax your culinary skills. In short, you can show off in the kitchen without trying too hard.

 

2 cups raw nuts (I used 1 cup each almonds and cashews)

½ cup pitted Medjool dates

pinch sea salt

4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey

optional: coconut flour, cacao powder, cinnamon for rolling truffles

 

 

Directions:

Combine all (except optional coconut flour, etc) in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are well ground and mixed with the dates.

Using a tablespoon or a small ice cream scooper, scoop the mixture into your hand and form into truffle balls.

You can now roll in coconut flour or other decorations, or eat raw.

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson, Valentine's Day Recipe, Vegan Valentine

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe

 

 

Serve as is, on top of ice cream, or crumbled on banana slices.

 

 

WHY I USE RAW CACAO

As you may have noticed, these recipes call for raw cacao, which is different from baking chocolate, chocolate chips, and all products made with dutched or processed chocolate. The health benefits of raw cacao are pretty awesome, and you can make a lot of easy treats with it.

 

And for me, healthy + delicious = perfect.

Why Raw Cacao is the best Chocolate

Why Raw Cacao is the best Chocolate

 

BUT, you have to buy the right kind of cacao to get the most benefits and avoid the toxins found in conventional cacao production. Certified Organic Raw Cacao is an excellent source of antioxidants. It it’s NOT Certified Organic Raw Cacao, then you are also eating a lot of chemicals from irradiation and spraying of chemicals which are standard practice in growing cacao beans.

All of my recipes use organic raw cacao powder and raw cacao nibs.

In case you’re wondering, here are some of the health benefits of using raw cacao:

 

Magnesium: Cacao beans are a great source of this mineral (270 milligrams per 100 grams), which is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies, including muscle and nerve function, and is a muscle relaxant associated with feelings of calmness.

Sulphur: Cacao is also high in sulfur, which helps grow strong nails and hair.

 

Fiber: A chocolate bar doesn’t offer any fiber, but if you eat raw cacao, you’ll get 9 grams per ounce!

 

Iron: An ounce of the raw cacao beans or nibs (crushed beans) contains six per cent of your recommended daily iron intake.

 

Antioxidants: Raw cocoa powder tops the antioxidant list with almost four times the amount of antioxidants as Goji Berries. But be careful! You may be sensitive to the caffeine effects on your nervous system, so take it easy on this stimulant.

 

Now there are 2 compounds in cacao that you might want to be careful of:

 

Theobromine, which makes up 1-2% of the cacao bean and, like caffeine, is a nervous system stimulant that dilates the blood vessels — much like caffeine. This is what makes chocolate unsafe for dogs, and causes uncomfortable sensations for sensitive humans.

 

Phenylethylamine (PEA): While our bodies also produce PEA (an adrenal-related chemical) when we’re excited, it causes our pulse to quicken. While this makes some of us feel alert and excited, it can have an uncomfortable effect on people who are sensitive and wanting to lower their heart rate.

 

With all this in mind, choose the healthiest chocolate for you and your loved ones, and enjoy the natural high of the food of the gods.

 

I want to hear from you! Share your pictures of favorite chocolate recipes, or your version of these recipes here!

Post your pictures to my Facebook or Pinterest page, and leave a comment below about your chocolate discoveries!

Xo,

Alex

Cold & Flu Season Busters: Cinnamon Tea Recipe (good for sugar cravings too!)

Cold & Flu Season? Stock up and protect yourself and your family!

Cinnamon Tea Recipe

Cinnamon Tea fights colds, flu and & cravings

Don’t wait until the shiver, shakes and fever stick you in bed for a week.

Be sure to stock your kitchen ‘medicine cabinet’ with these natural wonders:

Ginger root and ginger tea to help eliminate toxins
Raw garlic is anti-viral and has antibacterial properties
Dried shiitake mushrooms in broth, tea or food soothe inflammation
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of immune boosting zinc
Cinnamon to help relieve congestion
Lemon (freshly squeezed) in water or on salads or veggies, or in soup can help fight infection

 

 

Although many people like to simply sprinkle cinnamon on oatmeal drinking cinnamon in tea is another  great option, especially in winter. Warming, used for treating diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, flu, arthritis, menstrual cramps, and candidiasis, the smell relieves tension and helps steady the nerves. Cinnamon also balances blood sugar levels! Make your own easy Cinnamon Tea at home to help reduce sugar cravings, warm up, and keep colds and flu at bay.

Cinnamon Tea

Total time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cinnamon stick (1-3 inches)
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 decaf green, black or herbal tea (rooibos or honeybush are favorites)
  • 1-2 drops of Stevia for sweetening (optional)

Preparation:

1. Place the cinnamon stick in a cup.

2. Add the boiling water and steep covered for 10 minutes.

3. Add the teabag. Steep for one to three minutes.

4. Sweeten to taste, if desired.

Baking as Healing: Sweet Potato Bread

Baking is one of those healing practices I love.

From start to finish, the process feels like a ritual dance:

walking to the book shelf and choosing a cookbook…

sitting on the couch with tea, and leafing through the pages…

choosing a recipe…

placing the ingredients on the counter…

mindfully following the recipe…

smelling the transformation happening in the oven…

remembering baking projects from times before…

My wonderful mom, Annabeth, passed away this last Sunday. She was 65. She taught me to garden, cook, sew, make friends anywhere, and how to turn every aspect of life into a living art project. 

Diagnosed with inoperable liver and gallbladder cancer, Mom moved back to my home town of Portland, Oregon in June where she could get the best alternative treatments and be surrounded by old friends and family.

I was lucky enough to spend most of the summer in Oregon with her, and we cooked a bit together.  

Her naturopath had recommended a sugar-free diet, high in protein, and plant-based. Not 100% plant based, but based mainly on plants. Mom and I talked a lot about what foods she could enjoy, and how to make green smoothies in her Vitamix my brother had purchased for her.

I went home again over Thanksgiving, and while Mom’s energy was low, she requested favorite foods: including sweet potatoes. A friend had created something using raw sweet potatoes blended with eggs and little else, and I recreated the recipe in my grandmother’s kitchen for the holiday feast.

Mom loved it, and ate a second helping, which made my heart glow. I mean, feeding the people I love when they’re sick and need nourishment is one of my most basic joys in life. 

Last night my son and I baked the favorite that his “Nanabeth” loved: Sweet Potato Bread.

A good source of magnesium, Vitamin D and C, iron and potassium, sweet potatoes, especially the darker Garnet or Jewel “yams” (we tend to call yams sweet potatoes in the US), sweet potatoes are are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body.  Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer.

I also baked several muffins from the same batch, and tucked them into my son’s backpack for naturally sweet, high-protein snacks after school.

So this is a great kid recipe, too! 

The “bread” comes out as more of a bread pudding texture, but if you let it cool long enough, you can slice it, move it to a plate, and eat it with a fork. 

  • 4 cups raw, chopped sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3 eggs
  1. Combine all in a heavy duty blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add any additional water as needed to get a pourable mix, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Bake in coconut oiled bread pans or muffin tins at 400 F for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Serve to someone you love – include yourself in that. 
Please share this recipe with friends – just click the buttons at the top of the page!
xo, Alex

Winter Whites: Celery Root & Cauliflower Soup

Creamy Celery Soup 5Winter Whites:

Creamy Celery Root & Cauliflower Soup

You may have passed by the celery root, also known as celeriac, because it looked scary and you couldn’t image what you’d do with that giant root. 

Fear not! That big bulbous root is just the bottom of celery, and you may be able to find it with some celery stalks growing out of the top, which is great for soup garnish. 

Celery root is high in fiber, potassium and magnesium, and make a deliciously creamy (and easily dairy free) soup that hints of sweet celery – just trust me. Make this! 

To prep the celery root, just cut off all the brown outer “peal” with a sharp knife. I recommend you cut it in half first, so you have a flat surface to steady the round root on. Then cube it and cook it! 
Celery Root

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups cubed celery root
2 cups chopped cauliflower
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup unsweetened plant-milk 
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper
Extra olive oil for drizzling and a few celery leaves for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil over medium in a big soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the celery root, cauliflower and onion. Stir to coat all the veggies with oil.
  2. Cook for about five minutes. Don’t allow to brown, just to soften up. 
  3. Add the garlic, broth and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cover.
  4. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the celery root is tender. Stir in the plant milk.
  5. Remove the soup from the heat. If you have an immersion or “stick” blender, use it to puree the soup while it is still in the pot. 
  6. If you are using a regular blender, carefully ladle the soup in batches of 3 cups at a time into your blender, puree until smooth and return to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, starting with 1/2 teaspoon of each. Stir well, taste and add more to taste.