Superfood Peanut Zucchini Noodles

Swift as the wind

Quiet as the forest

Conquer like the fire

Steady as the Mountain

– Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”

Can you feel it?

Things are heating up. There’s a buzz in the air, like we’re on the precipice of something big. It’s almost palatable, electric.

It’s not great for sleeping but it is good for getting focused. And whatever we focus on, grows…

Summer heat brings thunderstorms. As the storm approaches, sink down and root. Take slow, deep breaths.

Just stay cool.

Summer is a great time for detoxifying and introverted asana practices. It’s also the season for salads, juice, and other raw foods.

There are a few raw dishes in my culinary arsenal that have withstood the test of time. Zucchini noodles are one of them.

My love for zucchini noodles (zoodles) began with a simple salad of wide noodles (using a vegetable peeler), marinated for fifteen minutes in lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and Kosher salt.

Easy to digest = easy to absorb the prana of the food.

My brother sent me this spiralizer for Christmas. I’ve been waiting for the warm weather to try it out.

My first project: Peanut Zucchini Noodles. I found some inspiration here:

Crazy Good Peanut Noodles (Quick & Easy, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo)

And here: Easy Healthy Dinner: Peanut Chicken Noodles

Zucchini is a superfood that has incredible health benefits. Peanuts and peanut butter are powerhouse foods too, especially for men.

A Word of Caution: Please read ingredient labels, avoid trans fats, and choose organic whenever possible (especially zucchini – avoid the conventional GMO variety). Toasting nuts adds flavor and kills mold. People with peanut allergies could substitute almonds/almond butter.

Superfood Peanut Zucchini Noodles

Makes 3 servings

Sauce

5 Tbsp peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp Sriracha (I like MM Local)

Combine in a saucepan and warm on low until peanut butter melts. Remove from heat and set aside.

Stir Fry

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 carrot, cut into 2″ slivers
1 bell pepper (yellow, red, or a combination), cut into 2″ slivers
1/2 c green onion, sliced (reserve green parts)

Preheat a large saucepan or wok on medium low. Add coconut oil, carrot, pepper. Gently stir fry for 5 minutes.

While cooking julienned vegetables, spiralize 2 medium zucchini with the wide, fettuccine blade. Set aside.

Add 1 Tbsp minced garlic and white parts of green onion to the stir fry. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant. Turn heat off.

Add zucchini noodles and green onion parts, fold in sauce. Finish with 1 tsp toasted sesame oil.

Toppings

1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup chopped, toasted peanuts
Himalayan pink salt

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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St. John, USVI

Summer Skincare is Getting Juicy

Home Rituals – Tortilla Soup

There’s been a lot of sickness floating around lately – some nasty chest and head colds (I got hit with both). For the most part I let them run their course, knowing that my immune system would be stronger once it was all over. I upped the anti on my vitamin C intake, drank LOTS of hot tea and tried to rest as much as possible.

The double whammy slowed me down quite a bit so I adjusted my practice accordingly (downward dog is just not an option when your head is full of snot). At times like these it’s good to remember that it really doesn’t matter what you do in your home practice just as long as you do SOMETHING for at least an hour a day.

One of the best things I did for myself was cook with warming foods (garlic, onion, cayenne pepper). I added this powerhouse trio to soups, curries, and pasta dishes, and with each bite my head would clear up a bit more. One of the recipes that I made was Chicken Tortilla Soup. Every ingredient is highly medicinal and when put together they pack a powerful punch. Best of all it’s really easy to make.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 2-3 people.

  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Anaheim pepper, diced (or 1/2 of a green pepper)

Cut VeggiesCut Veggies

Heat a medium-sized sauté pan on a low setting (**see note about cookware**)  Add 1 tablespoon butter. Add the carrots, onions and peppers and increase the heat to medium. Sprinkle with salt (Kosher or sea) and sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Saute

Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring to keep the veggies from browning. Garlic can burn very easily, so you want to keep a close eye (and nose) on your pan at this point. As soon as you smell the garlic add the tomatoes. This helps to keep the veggies from sticking to the bottom of the pan and will prevent any burning.

Add Garlic

Cook the veggies for another couple of minutes. At this point the onion should start to look translucent. Add a quart of chicken bone broth (I used this recipe: Home Rituals Bone Broth)

Chicken Stock

Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender. The bubbles should break continuously on the surface (between a rolling boil and a slow simmer).

Bubbling

Drain and rinse half a can (8oz) of organic black beans. Add to the soup, along with a 1/2 cup of cooked, diced chicken and cook for another few minutes. I used dark meat because it doesn’t dry out like white meat. If you wanted to use white meat you could – I would just recommend waiting until the very last minute to add it. Season the soup with:

  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
  • Salt to taste

In the last minute of cooking, add 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro and the juice of half a lime.

Add Cilantro

To serve, place a half of a cup of cooked rice in the bottom of a wide bowl. Ladle the soup over the rice. Garnish with a small handful of crushed organic, non-GMO corn tortilla chips, a few sprigs of fresh cilantro and a wedge of lime. Voila!

Home Rituals Chicken Tortilla Soup

** Just a quick side note about cookware – avoid aluminum at all costs as it’s one of the causes of Alzheimer’s. I used stainless steel because that’s what was available at the time, and it’s pretty good for cooking. Teflon is okay as long as you don’t use metal cooking utensils which can scratch and release poisonous Teflon particulate into your food.  The best option for cookware is a good-quality ceramic or ceramic-coated pan. And you don’t want to use any metal utensils with ceramic cookware. Wooden or high temperature plastic utensils are fine. **

What’s your go-to recipe when you’re feeding a cold?  Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.

Home Rituals – Bone Broth

 

Bone broth beef noodle soup

The cold weather is here! The temperature drop and shorter days can make us feel like flying south or hibernating. Depending on our perspective winter can be a harsh trial to endure or it can be an invitation to increase our resiliency.  

I’ve fled the cold weather at various times in my life, mainly because I didn’t know how to adjust my diet and lifestyle. After learning some basic rules of thumb my whole perspective of winter has changed. Taking care of my body allows me to feel more in tune with nature. So now instead of viewing winter as a harsh obstacle I see it as an opportunity to slow down and increase my energy reserves.

Yoga helped me begin the process of tuning into my body at this time of year. Some of my lifestyle practices include:

  1. Minimizing my exposure to artificial light at night
  2. Using candles and LED bulbs
  3. Resting when I’m tired
  4. Waking up with the sun
  5. Drinking lots of hot fluids
  6. Keeping my body well-insulated
  7. Building immunity through my diet
  8. I never get a flu shot (elderberry syrup for the win)

Food is my medicine.

Bone broth is a fairly recent addition to my culinary arsenal. I learned about bone broth when I was working in New York City. I loved going to Chinatown and one of my favorite places to eat was a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that makes hand-pulled noodle soups. I’ve been hooked on that flavorful and nutrient-rich broth ever since.

This article provides a good overview of the health benefits of bone broth from a traditional Chinese medicine perspective: How Bone Broths Support Your Adrenals, Bones and Teeth

It’s very easy to make bone broth.

Save leftover bones (I use organic chicken bones), place them in a pot with filtered water and add a splash of vinegar to aid in mineral extraction. You can also add a bay leaf or some vegetable scraps for flavor. Onion peels give bone broth a warm yellow color.

Bring the broth to a boil and then simmer for a minimum of 4 hours (or up to 24 hours). The longer you simmer the more nutrient dense it will be so add water as needed. You can use a crock pot or cook it on low on the stove. Either way your house will smell fantastic!

Some people try to keep their broth clear but it’s okay if it turns cloudy. Strain the cooled broth through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the particulate. Store the strained broth in glass mason jars in the fridge where it will keep for about a week. Bone broth is a great addition to soups, stews and any recipe that calls for stock. You could also try making your own version of the latest health trend in NYC – a steaming cup of bone broth.

What’s your favorite way to use bone broth? Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.

Homemade bone broth soup

 

Winter Retreat Recipe – Potatoes au Gratin

Potatoes au Gratin

When the weather’s cold and gloomy all I feel like doing is eating comfort foods. Potatoes smothered in cheese have been on my mind so I decided to whip up a batch of potatoes au gratin. This is one of my “go-to” winter recipes. The potatoes, cayenne pepper and onion are all “warming” foods and the sharp cheddar cheese sauce is full of good fats and protein. In the winter slow-cooked foods are where it’s at!

A few tips about this dish.

I used organic potatoes so I left the skins on. You could peel the skins if you wanted to but if you leave them on you’ll get an extra dose of fiber. I don’t recommend leaving the skins on if you’re using conventional potatoes though.

A great way to reduce your prep time is to slice the potatoes and onions in a food processor with a slicing blade attachment. Slicing by hand takes a lot longer and the pieces tend to be uneven. You can also shred your cheddar cheese in the processor, just switch to the cheese grater attachment.

Cayenne pepper is a powerhouse superfood.

I always use cayenne pepper instead of black pepper. Many people don’t know this but black pepper is mildly toxic. Cayenne lowers cholesterol, increases circulation and even strengthens the stomach lining [to learn more read: Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper].

It does takes a while to make this dish (about 2 hours) but it’s SO worth it! And your kitchen will smell amazing. For even more flavor you can garnish your potatoes au gratin with a splash of hot sauce. You could also sprinkle some chopped nitrate-free cooked bacon or lay a couple of fried eggs on top. Enjoy!

Potatoes au Gratin

makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 medium organic russet potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • salt and cayenne pepper
  • 3 Tbsp butter plus extra for greasing pan
  • 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt + more for seasoning the potatoes
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 & 1/2 cups shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 10″ x 8″ x 3″ pyrex baking dish.
  2. Cut the potatoes in half and cut into thin 1/8″ slices (or use a food processor).
  3. Layer half of the potatoes in the baking dish. Season generously with salt and cayenne. Set the other half of the potatoes aside.
  4. Cut the onion into thin slices and layer on top of the potatoes.
  5. Layer the remaining potato slices on top of the onion slices. Season again with salt and cayenne.
  6. In a medium-size saucepan melt 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the flour and 1/2 tsp salt and stir constantly for one minute.
  7. Add milk and continue to cook and stir until thickened.
  8. Add the cheese and continue stirring for another minute until the cheese has melted.
  9. Pour cheese sauce over potatoes and cover dish with aluminum foil.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 & 1/2 hours (or until the potatoes are fork tender).
  11. In the last fifteen minutes of cooking remove the foil to brown the top layer.

Potatoes au Gratin Hot Sauce

So good with a splash of hot sauce!