Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
Frozen Pesto (#HerbalMedicine)
I never thought of pesto as herbal medicine, but indeed it is.
Pesto has earned a spot in my diet (and my freezer), fairly regularly as a result. I mean, think of it, it’s chock-full of herbs. Herbs are medicine. Pesto = Powerful Herbal Medicine.
The thing about pesto, for me at least, is that I don’t relish the making of it. I have to lug out my food processor and wash lots of herbs (I like to keep them varied for optimal nutrition). The other issue is that sometimes you don’t want a lot of pesto… you want just a little. Well, that’s not a problem when you’re smart and make pesto ahead of time.
When you realize you want (or need) some pesto, it’s great to have it on hand. It requires thawing, but I find that I usually know if I’ll need pesto a day in advance so I put it in the fridge to thaw overnight. I like to make a good sized batch and freeze it in jars of different sizes as shown in the pictures. I especially like these baby food storage jars because the amount frozen is perfect for adding a little of pesto flavor to any dish where you want herbal flare but not a pesto-heavy result.
Pesto (#HerbalMedicine) going into little cups for freezing.
When I go to the farmers’ market, I see what lovely fresh herbs the farmer has, and I buy a lot. I go home and get to making some pesto straight away so I can be done with it. It feels good to have a freezer stocked of different things that can quickly be thawed for food. If you haven’t seen my post on Real Food Fast Food, please check it out. I share lots of ways to make really fast meals that qualify as Real Food (healthy stuff).
Pesto goes wonderfully served over a grass-fed steak, grass-fed burgers (I buy from Alderspring), pasture-raised chicken (I buy from Good Earth Farms), wild-caught salmon (I buy from Vital Choice). It’s also delectable slathered over some fermented organic sourdough bread, drizzled over mochi, dumped on top of gluten-free pasta, and stirred into organic goat cheese for the best goat cheese ever. You can also add a spoonful of it to the next dressing you make. Holy moly, you’ll be licking the bowl and begging for more salad when you do.
See? Many ways to enjoy pesto, when you have it on hand. Don’t forget…
Pesto = Powerful Herbal Medicine.
Pesto is pretty easy to make even if it’s not my favorite thing to do. However, I am not going to give you much of a pesto recipe because it’s so forgiving. You only need fresh herbs and a couple of other ingredients. I list many herbs below and you can use one or a combination of many. I also prefer hemp seeds instead of other nuts because they’re nice and small, soft, and offer some better nutrition than many other nuts.
- Fresh Organic Herbs: basil, oregano, dill, thyme, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, mint, dandelion, arugula
- sea salt (to taste, but don’t be shy)
- a few pressed cloves of garlic (more if you’re Italian) I love the Joseph Rocker Garlic Crusher
- 1/2 to 1-cup hemp seeds
- hard raw cheese like parmesan (if vegan, omit the cheese and add extra hemp seeds)
- 1/2 to 1-cup quality organic raw olive oil (or a mix of olive oil and Upgraded MCT oil for a brain boost)
Place the herbs in a food processor, like this one I have, fitted with the “S” blade, along with sea salt, garlic, hemp seeds, and cheese. Pulse it a bit until it’s nicely chopped. Turn on the food processor and add the olive oil in a steady stream until it’s incorporated. Set some aside to eat, if desired. Transfer the rest into glass storage cups of different sizes to be frozen. Be sure to label them with “Pesto” and the date.
Sunday, September 14th, 2014
Gussied-Up (low-mercury) Tuna Salad. Perfect for any party, lunch, breakfast, or whenever.
Tuna fish in a can makes a quick lunch, but I’ll only buy one brand of tuna. Wild Planet is a tuna fish I can trust to have low mercury and high omega fatty acids.
When we travel on the road, we eat it right out of the can for a satisfying protein and nutrient boost (we take these to Disney Land, too).
But, today, I’m sharing a recipe where it’s all gussied up with delicious textures and flavors. My whole family loves this, especially the bites with hidden gems in them like diced dried apricot.
Gussied-Up (low-mercury) Tuna Salad
Yield 2 to 4
- 2 cans low-mercury tuna
- Juice 1 organic lemon or lime
- 1/2 cup grass-fed organic (full-fat) Greek yogurt
- 1 stalk celery, chopped <— get a good knife
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 tsp kelp granules
- 1/2 to 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1 green onion, chopped
- Drizzle quality raw organic olive oil (or brain boosting MCT oil)
- 1/2 cup raw sauerkraut
- 1 tablespoon organic mustard
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup diced dried apricots (or currants)
- Handful each cilantro, parsley chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Mix everything together with a large spoon in a large bowl. Enjoy.
Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Organic grated turmeric and ginger for a tincture. #HerbalMedicine
Making tinctures is so easy it’s ridiculous. Jar. Herbs. Alcohol. Label. Wait. Strain. Ingest. For more detailed instructions see my How To on Tinctures here.
Turmeric n Ginger Tincture
Today, I’m sharing a quickie mixture I made that can help so many things: brain health, digestion, inflammation, longevity, and more. I was at the farmers’ market and they had organic turmeric. I couldn’t resist. I bought a bunch and decided to make some awesome tinctures from it (and Longevity Bone Broth).
Turmeric n Ginger Tincture
- Fresh organic turmeric root, grated
- Fresh organic ginger root, grated
- 80 to 100 proof alcohol
Place the ingredients in a glass mason jar. I’d say you’ll end up filling the jar no more than halfway with the turmeric and ginger. Add alcohol and fill to the top. Place a lid on it. Place a label on it with the ingredients and the date. Set it on your counter for 6 to 8 weeks, shaking it daily.
Strain off the liquid and toss the ginger and turmeric. Store the liquid elixir in glass tincture bottles (you can buy them here), or any bottle or jar, in a dark cool cupboard. These last for years.
Sunday, September 7th, 2014
Greg and I on our wedding day in Bora Bora
Taking even 2 minutes to focus your attention on things and people for which you’re grateful can turn any frown upside down. Try it.
I’m grateful for my generous and smart husband. I’m grateful for my precious daughter. I’m grateful for all of my family.
I’m grateful for my friends.
I’m grateful for my health… I’m without cancer, disease, or pain.
I’m grateful for meditation.
I’m grateful for the delicious, superior, high quality foods my family enjoys.
I’m grateful for the roof over my head that protects me from the elements outside.
I’m grateful for our car so we can run errands, visit friends and family, and go on adventures.
I’m grateful for my big, comfortable bed and pillows.
I’m grateful for fresh water to drink, wash clothes, bathe, and make coffee.
I’m grateful for the warm sun of Arizona.
I’m grateful that my eyesight works and I can read.
I’m grateful that I can hear music with my ears and have a voice to sing along.
I’m grateful for my freedom.
I’m grateful for the Internet and my computer.
I’m grateful for the clothes on my back the shoes on my feet.
I’m grateful that I feel safe walking around my neighborhood any time of the day.
I’m grateful for gratitude.
I’m grateful for so many things. Why are you grateful?
Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Sunday Grass-Fed Brisket
Grass-Fed Brisket… a wonderful dish that I’m eager to share. It makes such a lovely dinner for family and friends, which is how we always have ours. I make it and I invite our most cherished friends and family. Sharing food is one of my favorite things to do, and making a dish with the grass-fed brisket cut of beef makes it an inexpensive (and nutritious) way.
I learned the basics for cooking brisket this way from Cook’s Country, but I couldn’t follow their recipe precisely because it called for cola. Um… gross. So I made my own version, using their technique for prepping and cooking the brisket, with a twist on the ingredients of my own. It turned out unbelievably fantastic.
I call this Sunday Grass-Fed Brisket because the way I made it required being in and out of the kitchen a bit for the day, but an enjoyable experience. Typically this could be made in most homes on a Sunday, as a result, so you can tend to it. Also, Sunday is when many families have big dinners. Sunday Brisket makes a lot of food, perhaps feeding 6 to 8 people. Therefore, either make it and invite everyone over, or make it and eat it for a few days. Or, make it and freeze the leftovers.
I buy my dry-aged, grass-fed, organic beef from Alderspring Ranch. They’re a beautiful company where the rancher, Glenn, sends email updates on the animals that are darn near poetic. I also appreciate their values, one of which is “Absolute Traceability: Each cut is labeled and traceable to a single beef.” I really like Alderspring Ranch.
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Monday, September 1st, 2014
Kristen Suzanne in herbs
Big french press for big batches of herbal medicine. Above: Nettle, Burdock Root, Licorice Root, and Spearmint.
I’m having a lot of fun learning about herbal medicine. And, I’ve learned that one of the easiest ways to administer herbal medicine is via tea. Every one likes a nice cuppa tea, eh?
Herbal teas are also known as infusions or decoctions, but there is a difference in how they’re prepared. An infusion is hot water infused with the loose leaf teas, and can be made with a french press like the one pictured. A decoction is made by simmering the parts over heat. Simmering is proper for roots and tougher herbs and stems to get a nice extraction of nutrients and flavor. Today, I’m talking infusions which is what most people experience when they drink a cup of tea.
Herbal teas (tisanes) are something I drink daily. One way to make it extra easy is to simply brew a large batch, which I can enjoy all day long. That means no fussing in the kitchen more than once a day for tea.
Enter: My new big, bad-ass French Press.
The french press, I’ve learned (through trying different methods), is the simplest way to make herbal tea. The loose herbs are free to float and steep, while covered which is important. Then, you press them down via the plunger, and pour the tea into your favorite cup, all without messing with the loose tea and a separate strainer.
When I found myself making multiple batches of tea throughout the day with my small french press, I knew I needed something bigger. As usual, on Amazon.com, I found what I was looking for… The Gorsche Madrid French Press Tea and Coffee Maker makes a whopping 1.5 liters (1500 ml) of tea or coffee. Nice.
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Friday, August 29th, 2014
Longevity Bone Broth
The fall weather is approaching.
It’s time to get serious and prep our bodies with nourishing foods to get through flu season with ease. Bone broth (i.e., stock) is essential to help prevent getting sick, and to help you heal in record speed, if you do get sick. My family consumes homemade bone broth (on a very regular basis) delivered by mug, soup, stew, sauce (I make demi-glace from it which serves as the bases for many unbelievable sauces), and rice pilaf. We also rely on herbal medicine to keep our immune systems in the best shape possible. See posts here and here for herbal medicine. Oh and this post with a delicious(!) berry tea recipe, great for helping you fight and prevent colds and flu.
In case you haven’t read it yet, I wrote an epic blog post showing you many variations to making your own homemade bone broth (i.e., stock). Today, I’m quickly sharing a groovy longevity twist I have been making: Longevity Bone Broth.
I am naming it Longevity Bone Broth because I’ve added a number of longevity supporting ingredients such as:
Bone broth is a pretty bad-ass longevity food on its own, but this version takes it to new levels.
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Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Strawberry Banana Brain-Boosting Smoothie
Enjoy this mega brain-boosting smoothie for your next breakfast or lunch. Warning: if you have a little one around, especially a little girl who loves pink, be sure to double the batch or she’ll drink all of yours.
Strawberry Banana Brain-Boosting Smoothie
Blend everything in an awesome high-speed blender. (You don’t really need a high-speed blender to make this… but life is better with one.)
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Saturday, August 23rd, 2014
Spicy Aloe Beauty Salad (Raw Vegan Paleo Gluten Free)
I’m into beauty. I’m a girly-girl. I like beauty products, anti-aging goodies, sparkly things, makeup, and all things pink. And, as someone who closely watches what I put in my body, I do the same for what goes on the skin of my body.
Enter: Superfood Aloe.
Aloe is an amazing superfood that can be used externally and internally for amazing beauty results including fighting wrinkles when taken internally. Yeah, who knew?! Trouble is… fresh aloe is bitter so it’s not easy to find ways to consume it. Sometimes I drop a chunk in my smoothie, other times I add to soup (like my Beauty Soup Recipe), and yet other times I add it to salad. (Be sure to consume only the clear gel/flesh part, and avoid the yellow part or you’ll get a sick tummy and be running to the potty more than you want.)
Here’s a refreshing and energizing salad that brings you beauty internally and externally with the hydrating cucumbers, circulation-boosting jalapeno, beauty enhancing raw honey, and skin loving aloe. Enjoy.
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Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Important Nutrients in Food Chart (CLICK to enlarge)
Since changing my diet from vegan to omnivore, I have found myself looking into which foods are optimal sources of various nutrients. As a result, I started making lists to compile all of the data in one place.
Here’s my latest version, which is a work in progress, but I thought I’d share anyway because it’s a nice starting point. I’ve selected nutrients that I feel are important for my family’s optimal health. The items are not listed in any order of importance.
You’ll notice that most of the best sources, for many of these nutrients, are from animals. But, I would never settle for just any animals. As someone who cares for animals, and appreciates them and the nutrition they offer, I will only buy grass-fed and/or pasture-raised animal foods: meat, fish, some dairy, and lots of eggs. To see a list of the various places I source our foods, see this blog post.
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