1. Herbs for your health

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  2. Quinoa with Green Lentils and a Mushroom Gravy

It’s been a while since I have had the luxury of posting a recipe.  This lovely dish can be eaten as a side dish or as the main course. For this recipe I used French green lentils for their firm texture after cooking, and the peppery kick they add to the dish. Interestingly enough the peppery flavor is said to come from the volcanic soil they are grown in.  As a soil nerd, this tickles my fancy!  This is the first recipe I am posting from my iPad in HTML so I’m keeping my fingers crosses everything comes out beautifully!  

1 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth 
1 cup of French Green Lentils
1 cup Dry Quinoa
2 cups Vegetable Broth
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Shallots, minced
1/2 Clove Garlic, minced
8 oz Brown Mushrooms, sliced into large pieces (you can also use canned mushrooms)
1 cup Mushroom Broth
2 tsp Arrowroot
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Walnuts, toasted & chopped
Fresh Parsley to garnish (optional)


Add broth to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add lentils, boil for 2 or 3 minutes then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until tender. Cook for 45 minutes or till tender.

Add broth and quinoa into a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, till liquid is absorbed. 

Remove from heat and add lentils, lightly toss together. Set aside.

In a sauce pan heat olive oil and add shallots, cook until translucent (add vegetable stock if needed for moisture). 

Add mushrooms and garlic and sear lightly, adding a little stock if needed. Set aside.

In a small sauce pan heat mushroom stock to a light boil, whisk in arrowroot until smooth. Reduce heat and cook until sauce reduces and thickens.  Add sauce to mushroom skillet to glaze mushrooms.

 Pour this mixture over lentils and quinoa. 

If you have some raw walnuts then set the oven to 200 degrees and pop a handful of walnuts into the oven. Let roast for about 10 mins, shaking the pan periodically. I always taste test them!

Garnish with parsley and walnuts then enjoy!
  3. Winter time is the perfect time for some pressure cooking.  This recipe is super simple and the result is a very tasty side dish.  Add some goat cheese and avocado and you have meal. Enjoy.Ingredients:
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil I medium White Onion, chopped4 cloves of Garlic, minced 1/4 cup Tomato Paste2 cups Black Beans, soaked over night 1/4 tsp Sea Salt1 tsp Oregano1 tsp Cumin1 tsp ground Sage1/2 tsp Chili Powder1 Bay Leaf1/4 cup Celery Leaves2 Tbsp Parsley leaves, loose1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar1 Tbsp Lime Juice5 cups Water or Vegetable Broth  Instructions:Drain water from beans, rinse and set aside. In pressure cooker saute onions and garlic with olive oil. 

When translucent add tomato paste, stir. Turn off heat and add dry seasonings and mix.
Add black beans with orange juice, lime juice and water or broth, stir.

Top with the parsley and celery leaves then seal lid of pressure cooker.

Cook on high pressure for 22 minutes.  Let cool slightly and serve with rice, quinoa or tortillas with avocado. 
  4. Watermelon Smoothie
Watermelon  is something of a bedroom fruit. Not only is it charming to the taste  buds but it nourishes the body with fiber, vitamin A, the B’s and C,  along with several other nutrients including lycopene and citrulline.  What is citrulline you ask? Citrulline is an amino acid whose name comes from the Latin word for watermelon, citrullus.  That is not the exciting part though. Watermelon is the richest known  source for this amazing antioxidant which is used as a natural  alternative to Viagra [1]. Watermelon is also rich in the antioxidant  lycopene which gives watermelon it’s energetic color [2]. This  carotenoids plays a role in the prevention of several diseases including  prostate cancer [3], coronary heart disease and aids in the health of  our eyes [4].

As  an added bonus to this smoothie I like to add maca root. Maca root is a  highly nutritious food containing protein and several minerals such as  iron, zinc, calcium and potassium [5]. This Peruvian staple has been  used for centuries to improve libido and fertility [6]. Combined with watermelon, or swap out the maca root and nutritional yeast for a little vodka and you have a recipe for making whoopie. 
2 cups Watermelon, cubed & frozen 1 Tbsp Raw Agave Syrup 5 Mint leaves 1 tsp Ginger, minced 1/4 cup Yogurt
Optional: 1/2 Tbsp Maca Powder 1/2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast

I buy a fresh watermelon, chop it up, then place in the freezer for later use. This  way you do not need to add ice, and your smoothie does not become too watery.

When ready for a smoothie, place all the ingredients in a blender. 

Blend till smooth. Serve right away or place in freezer till ready to serve.

1. Rimando, A. M., & Perkins-Veazie, P. M. (2005). Determination of citrulline in watermelon rind. Journal of Chromatography , 1078, 196-200.
2. Oms-Oliu, G., Odriozola-Serrano, I.,  Soliva-Fortuny, R. S., & Martin-Belloso, O. (2009). Effects of  high-intensity pulsed electric field processing conditions on lycopene,  vitamin C and antioxidant capacity of watermelon juice. Food Chemistry , 115, 1312-1319.
3. Jayaprakasha, G. K., Chidambara, K.  N., & Patil, B. S. (2011). Rapid HPLC-UV method for quantification  of L-citrulline in watermelon and its potential role on smooth muscle  relaxation markers. Food Chemistry , 127, 240-248.
4. Fraser, P. D., & Bramley, P. M. (2004). The biosynthesis and nutritional uses of carotenoids. Progress in lipid research , 43, 228-265.
5. Rondan-Sanabria, G. G., &  Finardi-Filho, F. (2009). Physical-chemical and functional properties of  maca root starch (Lepidium meyenii Walpers). Food Chemistry , 114 (2), 492-498.
6. Lentz, A., Gravitt, K., Carson, C.  C., & Marson, L. (2007). ACute and chronic dosing of Lepidium  meyenii (Maca) on male rat sexual behavior. THe Journal of Sexual Medicine , 4, 332-340.
  5. Flat Iron Steak Tostada Salad with a Peach Mango Salsa
2 Flat Iron Steaks
1 Beer, something light
1 tsp Garlic, Chopped
2 Tbsp Papaya Juice
1 Fresh Peach, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup Red Onion, chopped
1/2  Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Mango, peeled and chopped
1 Jalapeno Pepper, chopped
1 Lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped
1 Corn Tortilla
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Fresh Ground Pepper
Sea Salt
4 cups Salad Greens
1 Avocado, Sliced
1/2 can Black Beans, rinsed
Place steaks in a shallow dish, add beer till it just covers the steaks.  Add papaya juice and garlic. Cover and place in refrigerator.  Marinate steaks for a couple of hours

Combine peach, mango, red onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro and lemon juice in a bowl.

Set side so flavors can combine. 

Add oil to a small skillet, bring to a medium high heat. Add corn tortilla and fry till crisp.  Remove and place between paper towels to soak up oil. When cool, place on a cutting board, cut the corn tortilla into thin strips about 2 inches long.

Heat another skillet to medium high heat, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Remove steaks from marinade and season top salt and pepper. Add steaks to pan.  

Cook for about 5 mins then flip.  

Continue to cook and check middle of steak for doneness.  Steaks should come out medium, or medium rare depending on your taste. Remove steaks from heat and place on a cutting board. When cool, slice into 1/2 inch strips.
In serving plates add greens, avocado slices and black beans.  Add steak and tortilla strips to salad and top with salsa. 
  6. Teriyaki Poached Salmon
This recipe will knock your socks off!  Not only is it nutritious and healthy, but the sauce is amazing. Combined with the vegetables and you have a winner. Many years ago I took a macrobiotic cooking class and ever since this sauce has been a staple in my kitchen when the teriyaki need arises. 
4 Salmon Fillets with skin attached
1 Lemon, sliced
1/2 cup Rice WIne, such as Shao Hsing Hau Tiao Chiew (or a good Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Shoyu (or Braggs, or soy sauce)
1/2 cup Plum Puree (or Plum Sauce)
1 Tbsp Ginger, freshly grated 
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp RIce Vinegar
1 cup Brown Rice
2 1/4 cups Water
4 Baby Bok Choy, chopped
1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper, sliced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1/4 cup White Onion, sliced
Toasted Sesame Seeds, as garnish
Marinate Salmon in rice wine for an 1 to 24 hours.

Add rice and water to a pot, bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes. 

While the rice is cooking, blend all the ingredients for the sauce with a hand blender. Or if you are lazy like me, add ingredients to a jar and shake! Return to refrigerator to chill. 

In a steamer add vegetables. Steam for about 2-3 minutes. Then turn off heat but leave in steamer while salmon finishes cooking.
In a sauce pan add wine, water, and lemon slices. Bring to a low rolling simmer over medium heat. 

Add salmon fillets, skin-side down to the pan.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook 5 minutes or till the salmon begins to flake apart.
Serve salmon over rice and vegetables. Top with sauce and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
  7. Honey Mustard Red Quinoa Salad
This recipe uses red quinoa which was once reserved for royalty. Not only is it delicious but it is ideal for those who have celiac disease and eating vegetarian or vegan diets. Quinoa provides lysine unlike most grains making it a complete protein. A fourth of a cup will provide you with 20% of your daily value of fiber, 25% of folate, 20% magnesium 15% riboflavin and 10% of Iron, thiamin, vitamin B6 and phosphorus. 
1 cup Dry Quinoa
2 cups Vegetable Broth
3 Green Onions, chopped
1/2 Red Onion, chopped
1/4 cup Parsley, chopped
Optional: Feta Cheese
1 Tbsp Raw Honey
2 Tbsp Brown Mustard
1 Lime, juiced
4 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
4 Tbsp Flax Seed oil
2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seeds
2 tsp Salt
Add broth and quinoa into a pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, till liquid is absorbed. Set aside to cool.
In a jar combine honey, mustard, lime juice, rice vinegar, flax seed oil, ground flax seed and salt, shake to mix throughly. 
In a large bowl combine quinoa, parsley and onions; drench with dressing.

Mix throughly to distribute the dressing.  Chill before serving and top with feta cheese.
  8. Cumin Roasted Eggplant
To give this dish a little twist I added black mustard seeds.  Interestingly enough these seeds contain the essential Omega-3 fatty acids, and the amino acids selenium and tryptophan.  Eggplant has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels (1) along with providing the body with antioxidants (2) and when grown organically could provide additional quercetin (3). 
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Black Mustard Seeds
3 large Eggplants
1/4 cup Red Onion, chopped
2 tsps Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Honey (or sugar)
2 Tbsp Grape Seed Oil (or olive oil)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Wash eggplants and place on a baking sheet. 

Roast whole eggplant until blackened and tender, turning frequently.

Should take 20 to 30 minutes. When ready set eggplant aside to cool.
Toast the cumin, garam masala and black mustard seeds in a heavy skillet, over medium heat, until fragrant.

When eggplant has cooled for about 10 minutes, remove skin and coarsely chop.

Place into skillet and add the onion, vinegar, sugar, oil, and salt.

Mix together and heat for 5 minutes. Serve as a side dish or over rice as a meal.
1. S. Sudheesh, G. Presannakumar, S. Vijayakumur and N.R. Vijayalakshmi, Hypolipidemic effect of flavonoids from Solanum melongena, Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 51 (1997), pp. 321–330.
2. H.Y. Huang, C.K. Chang, T.K. Tso, J.J. Huang, W.W. Chang and W.C. Tsai, Antioxidant activities of various fruits and vegetables produced in Taiwan, International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition 55 (2004), pp. 423–429.
3. A. Singh, D. Luthria, T. Wilson, N. Vorsa, V. Singh, G. Banuelos and S. Pasakdee, Polyphenols content and antioxidant capacity of eggplant, Food Chemistry 114 (2009) pp. 955-961.
  9. Gluten Free Raspberry and Lemon Zest Muffins
In honor of Celiac Awareness Month, I present you a gluten free nutritious muffin that does not taste like ass! Amazing right? These muffins are packed with Omega-3’s and to be honest I could not tell they were gluten free.  I did make them with dairy but the recipes I gathered in research all used the dairy free versions of these products and included xanthan gum as a stabilizer. For those who can have dairy, please enjoy!
1/4 cup Ground Flaxseed
2 cups Rice Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 stick unsalted Butter,  room temperature
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Turbinado Sugar
1 cup Milk (or almond milk)
1/2 cup Yogurt (or soy yogurt)
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
lemon zest from 1 1/2 lemons
1 cup Raspberries, frozen
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
In a medium sized bowl, mix together ground flaxseed, rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  

In a large bowl cream together the turbinado sugar and butter for about 2 minutes. Gradually add brown sugar and beat for 2 more minutes.  Add eggs and mix for 1 minute. 

Fold in dry ingredients, yogurt and milk, 1/3 of each separately. Add lemon zest and raspberries.  

Very Important:  Fold these in gently to ensure raspberries do not bleed. 
Quickly and gently fill cupcake liners or a greased muffin pan to 3/4 full.

I sprinkled with sugar and lemon zest and some with oats (for those who can eat oats).

Bake for 12 - 14 minutes depending on your oven.  Tops should turn a golden brown and an inserted toothpick should come out slightly moist. 
Place on a rack to cool.

They were not the prettiest muffins when they came out so I was glad I decorated the few that I did!  In the end they were sort of like a present that you unwrapped…

And then a huge smile appears on our face :D
  10. Oh My Banana Muffs!
Rich in Omega-3’s these muffins will definitely make your body say ‘Oh My!’ I found this recipe on the FANNEtastic Food website and thought I would give it a whirl.  After I baked them and decided they were pretty kick-ass, I analyzed the recipe and came up with this: Each muffin is less than 200 calories and provides nearly 80% of the RDI of Omega-3, 19% of fiber, along with 5 grams of protein and 10% of the recommended vitamin B6. The spelt flour combines beautifully with the bananas, the yogurt keeps the muffin nice and moist while the ground flaxseed turns these babies golden brown. 
2 cups Spelt Flour
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Ground Flaxseed (see below)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
3 Bananas, Mashed
3/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Yogurt, plain
1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
In a large bowl mash the bananas till most of the large chunks are gone.  

Add the milk and yogurt and gently mix. 

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, ground flax seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  

Add the dry ingredients into the banana mixture in thirds. Gently fold together the batter being careful to not over mix. 

Fold in pecans.  Batter should be lumpy and fluffy. 

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.  

Decorate the tops if you like!

Place in oven and bake 12 - 15 minutes, depending on the size of muffin cups and your stove.  Muffins are finished when the tops no longer look moist and fragile, and after a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Tops will turn a golden brown color.

To make your own ground flaxseeds: 
I keep a fresh bag of flaxseeds in the refrigerator and quickly ground them in my coffee grinder! Works perfectly.
  11. christinekaywong said: If you had to choose between chilean sea bass and black cod what would it be?

    Good question. I honestly cannot ever remember having black cod. If I get off work early enough to hit McCall’s Meat and Fish Co by my house, then I’m going to try the recipe with it and let you know ;)

  12. Spelt Muffins with Blueberries and Orange Zest
Feeling a little adventurous? Venture on down to the store and pick up some spelt flour. It is an excellent way to incorporate whole grains, iron and protein into your diet. Spelt flour has a nutty flavor and is slightly sweeter than wheat flour.  Spelt is also good source of fiber, protein, niacin, thiamin, iron and magnesium. Combine these benefits with the antioxidant power of blueberries and the nutritional benefits of oats and you have yourself a winner!
1 1/4 cup Rolled Oats1 cup Spelt Flour1 T Baking Powder1/2 tsp Salt1/3 cup Sugar1 T fresh Orange Zest1 Egg1 cup Milk1/4 cup Corn Oil1 cup Blueberries, fresh or frozen
Instructions:Preheat oven to 400F.
In small bowl, stir together the rolled oats, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, beat the egg with a fork. Add in milk, sugar, orange zest and vegetable oil.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until barely combined, be careful not to over stir. Gently fold in blueberries, again do not over stir! The batter will be runny.
Fill a muffin pan with paper liners or use silicone muffin cups. Divide batter equally among muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full.

Remove muffins from oven and cool on a rack. Enjoy!
  13. Miso and Sake Marinated Chilean Sea Bass
4 Chilean Sea Bass fillets1/2 cup White Miso1/2 cup Mirin or Japanese Rice Wine1/2 Cup Sake3 Tbsp Agave1 tsp Spicy Brown Mustard1 Clove Garlic, minced1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, chopped

Combine all the ingredients (besides the fish), mix thoroughly, it will be thick. 
Place fish in a dish and saturate with marinade. 

Cover and place in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. 
Preheat oven to Broil. 
While the oven is warming, gently remove the miso sauce from the outside of the fish. 

Place fish in a baking dish and broil till it starts to flake apart. 
Depending on the thickness of the fish, it could take 5 - 15 minutes.
Check with a fork every 5 minutes, when it begins to flake apart and is tender to the touch, it is ready.
Serve over rice or with your favorite vegetables. 
  14. Black Bean, Red Pepper and Quinoa Salad
I do believe that once you have it, you have to have more.  It is sort of like what they about tattoos.
Ingredients: 1 cup Dry Quinoa2 cups Vegetable Broth1 can Black Beans, drained1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped2 Green Onions, chopped1/2 Shallot, finely choppedDressing:2 tsp Raw Honey1/2 Lime. juiced2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar2 Tbsp Flax Seed oil1 Tbsp Ground Flax Seeds2 tsp SaltInstructions: 

Add broth and quinoa into a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, till liquid is absorbed. Set aside to cool.In a jar combine honey, lime juice, rice vinegar, flax seed oil, ground flax seed and salt; shake to mix.
In a large bowl combine quinoa, black beans, bell pepper, and onions; drench with dressing.

Mix thoroughly to distribute the dressing.  Chill before serving.
  15. Leek & Cannellini Bean Couscous
Cannellini beans are a large white kidney bean which provide folate, iron and magnesium. 
1 1/2 cups Cannellini Beans, dried
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 Med White Onion, finely chopped
1 Shallot, finely chopped
1 Leek, chopped
2 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 cups Vegetable Broth
1 cup Whole Wheat Couscous
1/3 cup Cilantro, chopped
Instructions:Rinse then soak cannellini beans overnight. Dump soaking water, rinse again and refill pot about 2 inches over beans. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 45 minutes or until slightly tender. Do not overcook.  Drain and set aside.In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute garlic, onion,shallot and leeks till tender.

Season with salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add beans and broth, bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and add couscous, stirring well.

Cover and let sit for about 5 minutes to allow the couscous to cook.  Garnish with cayenne pepper and serve immediately.
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