Loving This {March}

March Loving ThisA monthly show-and-tell on what’s working for me.

I’ve been so excited about spring’s arrival that I had quite a bit of trouble narrowing down my favorite things this month. My six finalists are below, but you can always follow me on Instagram for all the others. This month has been all about contrasting seasons, curling up on the couch at night with a cup of hot tea after a day filled with strawberries and sunshine. Now, I’m in California so my seasons may look a little different than yours, so feel free to share what March looks like for you in the comments below.

What’s Working in March:

  1. Strawberries. I walked into the grocery store this month to find an explosion of strawberries. It’s definitely spring here in California and I’m taking full advantage of the bounty.
  2. Glass Straws. Glass straws are a fabulously green way to protect tooth enamel from acids and keep your lipstick fresh. I love these smoothie-sized glass straws from Glass Dharma.
  3. La Natura Lip Balm. Winter lips have nothing on La Natura Lip Balm. I’ve never been into chopsticks or lip balms, but this coconut-y concoction is free of all the things I try to avoid and feels so good. I’m hooked.
  4. Tea + Coconut Oil. There’s been so much buzz about the benefits of coconut oil recently, especially around it being a potential therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. I aim for 1-3 tablespoons of coconut oil each day and adding 1 tablespoon of oil to my tea is an easy way to do that. The oil adds a richness (and is great for chapped lips!) and provides a little more energy than just a plain cup of tea.
  5. Butter. I’ve always loved butter, but due to the current drought and the popularity of Bulletproof Coffee, my favorite Kerrygold Irish salted butter has been out of stock for months. I was delighted to finally found it in the store again, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
  6. The French Laundry. I don’t know how to properly express how fabulous this Napa restaurant is, other than it exceeds the hype. Just walking around the restaurant garden alone is worth the trip. If you’re ever lucky enough to get a reservation, be prepared to eat more than you ever have, enjoy foods you never thought you’d like, and have every possible need taken care of before you can even ask (even food sensitivities).

What are you loving this month?

 

Loving This {February}

February Loving ThisI’m always discovering new recipes, products, and tricks that make living a well-nourished life just a little bit more fabulous and delicious. Inspired by my dear friend Becca over at While You Were Napping, I thought I would share a simple list with you each month of what I’ve found works for me in hopes that you may fall in love with some of these things too! I’d love to know what healthy habits are working for you this month, so be sure to leave a comment below!
  1. It’s All Good. I’ve shared my love for this cookbook before, and it continues to hit the spot. This month I’ve enjoyed Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Chipotle + Coriander, Chicken + White Bean Chili, and Savory Leftover Quinoa.
  2. Detox Baths. After being exposed to radiation on a plane flight (and everything else that comes with travel), I love taking a good detox bath when I get home. My simple recipe contains 1-2 cups Epsom salt (I used a mineral salt blend I found at Whole Foods), 1/4 cup baking soda, and 8-10 drops peppermint or lavender oil.
  3. Soy Candles. I’m so delighted to have found these clean-burning soy candles from Target. After dinner I’ll light one of these and watch the Olympics; a habit that almost makes me enjoy winter. Almost.
  4. Breakfast. I started The Breakfast Club to inspire all of you to renew your interest in breakfast, but it turns out that I’ve been the one inspired! My co-hosts have created some beautiful morning meals and I’ve loved everything you all have shared on our group Pinterest board. I would love to have the rest of you join this free challenge and eat breakfast with us every morning for the rest of the month!
  5. Pellegrino. Pellegrino is nothing new, but I love how the sparkle makes drinks feel more special. My favorite combos have been Pellegrino + Synergy Kombucha and Pellegrino + fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice.
  6. Pilates. My friend Robin over at The Balanced Life Online has been posting a short pilates workout on her blog every day this month. These 5-10 minute workouts are so convenient, so why not join me?

What’s working for you this month? Share in the comments below, or post your own list!

Holiday Gift Guide

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1. Soy Candles: Candles always make a lovely gift and are a natural deodorizer. Choose soy candles that don’t produce toxic gases when burned. I love these candles from Mrs. Meyers, Red Flower, Archipelago, and Baxter of California.

Mrs. Meyers square Red Flower ArchipelagoBaxter of California

 

 

 

2. DIY Food Fermentation Kits: Traditional food preparation techniques are on-trend this season and it’s easy to find starter cultures and kits for your favorite fermented foods. Some of my favorite DIY kits this year are for kombucha, kimchi, and sourdough.

Kombucha Kimchi Sourdough

 

 

 

3. Protective Tech Cases: If you’re looking for a new iPhone case, choose one that protects you against unnecessary radiation. I love these iPhone and iPad cases from Pong.

iPhoneiPad

 

 

 

 

4. Decorative Spice Cellars: If you use a lot of a certain spice, you’ll find it much cheaper to buy in bulk. Now you can have quick access to your most-used spices with these or these fabulous spice cellars from Anthropologie.

colored spice cellarsgrey spice cellar

 

 

 

 

5. Nourishing Cookbooks: Home chefs always love new inspiration, and there have been plenty of fabulous cookbooks released this year! Some of my favorites are The Kinfolk Table, Against All Grain, The Art of Simple Food II, and Vegetable Literacy.

kinfolk tableAgainstAllGrainBookSImple FoodVegetable Literacy

6. Non-Toxic Nail Polish: The Eco-trend has finally hit nail polish! My favorite non-toxic brands are Zoya and Scotch Naturals.

ZOyaScotch Naturals

 

 

 

 

7. Cooking Classes: Cooking classes are a great way to have a fun time with your friends and learn some new skills. I’m especially excited about the Knife Skills class at Sur La Table.

Cooking class

 

 

 

 

8. Kitchen Herb Garden: Potted herbs are a gift that will last all year long. There are some fantastic planters out there to add a functional, decorative element to anyone’s home. I love these from Boskke, Williams-Sonoma, and Modern Sprout Planter.

Boskke Planter Williams-Sonoma Planter Modern Planter

 

 

 

What’s on your list?

 

Nourishing Traditions & Beautiful Broth

Nourishing TraditionsIf there was one book I could recommend to you it would be Nourishing Traditions.

Known in the traditional diets community as the “food bible,” Nourishing Traditions is part cookbook, part textbook, and part politics. I always warn people that this book will challenge everything you’ve learned about nutrition, so read it with an open mind.

I find the largest takeaway from Nourishing Traditions is how to select and prepare foods to increase their nutrient density. Eating isn’t just about calories, it’s about vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and enzymes as well – and most importantly, it’s about how well we absorb and are able to utilize all the nutrients we ingest.

Nourishing Traditions explains:

  1. Why your body needs old-fashioned animal fats
  2. Why butter is a health food
  3. How cholesterol in your diet promotes good health
  4. How saturated fats protect the heart
  5. How sauces and dressings help you digest and assimilate your food
  6. Why grains and legumes need special preparation to provide optimum benefits
  7. About enzyme-enhanced food and beverages that can provide increased energy and vitality
  8. Why high-fiber, low-fat diets can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies

I use a number of the food preparation techniques taught in Nourishing Traditions in Restore, A Digestive Wellness Cleanse, and I want to share the most foundational of them with you now: chicken stock.

Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow, and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate. Acidic vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium, and potassium, into the broth. Chicken broth contains large amounts of glycine  and proline, which are amino acids that are essential for stress management, digestive health, wound repair, cardiovascular health, and weight maintenance.

chicken in the potChicken Stock (from Nourishing Traditions)

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts
  • gizzards from one chicken (optional)
  • feet from one chicken (optional)
  • 4 quarts cold filtered water
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley

Method:

If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands, and the gizzards from the cavity. By all means, use chicken feet if you can find them – they are full of gelatin. Even better, use a whole chicken, with the head on. These may be found in Asian markets. Farm-raised, free-range chickens give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.

Cut chicken parts into several pieces. (If you are using a whole chicken, remove the neck and wings and cut them into several pieces). Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar, and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

Remove whole chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon. If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass. Reserve for other uses, such as chicken salads, enchiladas, sandwiches or curries. (The skin and smaller bones, which will be very soft, may be given to your dog or cat.) Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.

Drew’s Quick Tips:

  • Reserve ANY bones from bone-in steaks, chicken, lamb, etc. and store them in your freezer until you have enough to make a stock.
  • Add bones to any soup you make as it cooks along with 2 Tbsp. vinegar to draw the minerals from the bones. It won’t affect the flavor of your soup much, but will greatly increase its nutrient value.
  • Use bone-in chicken breast or thighs in any soup recipe that calls for chicken. Add 2 Tbsp. vinegar to the soup as it’s cooking and remove the meat from the bones before serving.
  • Store homemade stock in your freezer in 1 cup servings for easy future use.
  • Cook rice, quinoa, or other grains in your homemade stock instead of water for increased nutrition.

If you want more nourishing recipes, join us starting September 8th for Restore, A Digestive Wellness Cleanse!

It’s All Good

It's All Good Cover Image

I’m consumed by this cookbook. Literally, everything I’ve cooked in the past 2 weeks has been from this book.

Savory Breakfast Quinoa! Spanish Chopped Salad with Tuna and Piquillos! Steak with Melted Anchovies and Rosemary (anchovies are SUCH a great source of calcium)! Berry crumble!

And everything’s been fabulous.

In It’s All Good, Gwyneth Paltrow shares her personal health journey which lead her to an adrenal-supporting elimination diet. Her story sounds so similar to many of my clients and it seems that the advice she received from her health care providers is in line with what I would recommend to those sitting in my office.

Upon embarking on a sugar, gluten, dairy, egg, and soy-free diet, she set out to nourish her body well while still enjoying delicious food. This cookbook is a compilation of gluten, dairy, and sugar-free recipes with a few options for egg and soy-free recipes as well. It’s a delightful resource for anyone with food sensitivities, participating in an elimination diet, or for those who simply want to eat “clean”.

Her recipes aren’t always exact, which I appreciate, as she leaves a little room for your own interpretation. The joy of simple cooking is using what you have, working with the seasons, and striving for nourishment rather than perfection. I tend to view recipes as inspiration, always thinking about how I’ll make adjustments to suit my taste preferences and nutritional needs. In my opinion, the fewer modifications I need to make to a recipe, the better I perceive the recipe to be. Gwyneth’s dishes are near perfect, but it wouldn’t be my kitchen if I didn’t add my own personal touch.

I highly encourage you to order this book now, but here’s a tasty recipe for those of you that just can’t wait.


 

crumble photoGwyneth’s Flourless Anything Crumble

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fruit – peeled and sliced stone fruit, berries, whatever (I used strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
  • 4 Tbsp. good-quality maple syrup, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (or grind 1/2 cup of blanched almonds in a powerful blender until they’re powdery)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
  • A pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (or any dessert spice – try cardamom and clove with chopped pears, for example)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (I think I’ll try some pastured butter in place of oil next time)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the fruit in a shallow baking dish with 2 Tbsp. of the maple syrup and the lemon juice.
  3. Mix the almond meal, quinoa flakes, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the 2 remaining Tbsp. of maple syrup and the olive oil (or melted butter) and mix until just combined. Crumble the mixture over the fruit and bake until the topping is browned and the fruit is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.

Serves 6.

Chez Panisse Vegetables

Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters is a delicious treasure that is sure to be dearly loved and spilled upon many times through years of use in my kitchen. This cookbook’s been around forever (or since 1996), but though it’s been on my list of books to buy for the past who knows how many years, I finally received my very own copy for Christmas. You may already own and love this book yourself, in which case, this review is really unnecessary. But perhaps it’s made its way to the back of the bookshelf and this is the encouragement you need to reintroduce its delightful recipes to your usual repertoire. For those of you who have yet to experience the expertise of Alice Water’s organic, Californian cuisine, please get a move on and buy the book now! (Chez Panisse Vegetables)

One of my favorite strategies at the weekly farmer’s market is to pick a vegetable or fruit that I don’t regularly eat or may have never even seen before. Sometimes I glean tips from the farmer about how best to prepare the item, but often I return home and scour the internet for some mouth-watering options (what did people do before the internet?!). However, I’ve found Chez Panisse Vegetables to be a valuable, encyclopedic resource for all my farmer’s market finds. It helps that Alice Waters lives just across the Bay, in Berkeley, so her ingredients and seasonal recommendations are in line with what I can find locally. The recipes are simple, but the flavors are complex and sophisticated in a farm-chic kind of way.

Note: with a title like “Vegetables,” you may surmise that these recipes don’t really pack the protein. If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m a sucker for a balanced meal, but these recipes make wonderful vegetable portions, salads and sauces. Just add protein!

I’ll share with you a recipe to hold you over until you can get a copy for yourself. Here’s a great little salad – perfect for the winter months.

Avocado, Grapefruit, and Curly Endive Salad with Citrus Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 6 small heads curly endive
  • 1 large shallot
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • salt
  • 2 grapefruit
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 avocados

Method:

Wash and spin-dry the curly endive. For this salad, use only the blanched hearts and save the green leaves for cooking greens.

Peel the shallot and dice it fine. Let it macerate with the vinegar, 1 tablespoon each of lemon juice and orange juice, and a pinch of salt.

Cut away the grapefruit peel, all the pith below, and the membrane around the grapefruit flesh. Then cut the sections free, carefully slicing along the membranes. Peel a little lemon and orange zest and finely chop enough to make about ¼ teaspoon of each.

When you are ready to assemble the salad, whisk the olive oil into the shallot mixture. Add the orange and lemon zest and taste. Add more olive oil or lemon juice if necessary. Cut the avocados in half lengthwise. Remove the pits. Using a sharp knife, cut the avocados into lengthwise slices about the same size as the grapefruit sections, keeping the skin on. Scoop out the slices with a large spoon. Toss the curly endive and grapefruit sections in a bowl with about two thirds of the dressing. Tate the salad and add more salt if necessary. Arrange on a platter or individual dishes. Distribute the avocado slices alongside the endive and grapefruit, season them with a pinch of salt, and drizzle the rest of the dressing over them.

Serves 6.