Get Grounded Fall Root Soup

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One of my favourite things about the fall is all of the gorgeous, nourishing root vegetables that crop up this time of year. Nothing gets me quite so excited as local organic vegetables, especially when the selection includes delights like celeriac (in our CSA bag this week), sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes), daikon and burdock. Also known as Gobo, information on burdock can be found here and here.

I love that I am now at the point in my culinary endeavours where I can wander through a local grocery store and create a dinner inspired by what is currently fresh and available. I am all for meal planning, it is an essential part of our weekly routine, however I try to also leave some wiggle room for creative endeavours, like this Get Grounded Fall Root Soup!

I also love taking a wander through our fridge to see how I can combine leftover veg in a creative way that doesn’t just include soup stock. As wonderful as a good, homemade stock is, this kind of exploration is wonderful in that it allows me to expand my culinary horizons and creativity in the kitchen. Enjoy!

Get Grounded Fall Root Soup

Ingredients:

1 celeriac root, stalk and root included
4 cups sunchokes, peeled and cubed
1 medium rutabaga peeled and cubed
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, diced
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium daikon radish, peeled and diced
4 stalks burdock, peeled and diced
6 cups vegetable broth (Nourishing Vegetable Broth is a great option)
2 Tbsp Harmonic Arts 14 mushroom blend (optional)
1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
1/2 cup raw cashews
Salt and pepper, to taste
Truffle oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Remove stalks from the celery root, finely chop and set aside.
Peel celery root and dice into small cubes.
Toss celeriac, rutabaga and sunchoke cubes with avocado oil and a pinch of salt.
Roast roots in the oven for 20 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
While root vegetables are roasting, sautéed onion, garlic, daikon, burdock and celery in olive oil with a pinch of salt over medium/low heat (keeping it at a low sizzle).
Sweat the vegetables for at least 15 minutes, until fully softened.
Scoop roasted veggies into the pot and add vegetable broth, along with the optional 14 Mushroom Blend.
Bring soup to a boil, and lower to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from heat and add cashews and rosemary.
Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender and process until completely smooth.
Transfer back to the soup pot and season with salt and pepper. If you would like to be decadent, smoked sea salt is a lovely addition, as is a drizzle of truffle oil!
Serve with a sprig of rosemary and a drizzle of oil for garnish (olive oil also works very well here).

What is your favourite fall root vegetable, and how do you like to use it?

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Herbal Remedies

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I am enjoying a few quiet moments to gather my thoughts, after a very fun day of preparing herbal remedies with my kids. I have dabbled in DIY products and herbal remedies prior to this, but my engagement with all things herbal began for real when I started Betty Norton’s Herbal Apprenticeship Program in September of this year. I love the format of the course; we meet on Thursday evenings in Brentwood Bay, to discuss different herbs and their properties, put together herbal remedies, and on occassion go out on herbal walks. I am enjoying the course immensely; I am fascinated by the healing properties of the herbs I am learning about, and can see the positive effect on our health and wellness as we have started incorporating them into our daily rituals.

Today’s herb crafting was a mix of a few different sources. We started out by reading sections of Lesley Tierra’s A Kid’s Herbal Book, a wonderful compilation of history, stories, herbal information, and illustrations. I find the lay out to be very engaging, and love how easy it is to pick up and read in small segments as it is made up of many self contained sections. We then continued with a mix of recipes from Betty’s course, along with a series of recipes and videos from John Gallagher’s Herb Mentor Program, care of Learning Herbs. We had purchased all of the ingredients we needed last week, and had a lot of fun pulling together and prepping ingredients along with the videos.

The first herbal remedy we made was some delicious elderberry syrup. It was part of the Herbal Remedy Kit I purchased when I first discovered Learning Herbs and all of their wonderful courses a few months ago. I have heard really good things about the immune boosting properties of elderberries, and was thoroughly convinced that the syrup was a good idea after the first delicious bite! I suspect it won’t last long; my kids and husband were just as enamoured as I was.

We followed this with Betty’s Fire Cider and Professor Cayenne recipes, which inspired lots of tears due to the sheer amount of onions and horseradish! The tonics have been steeping for only a few hours, but are already starting to develop vibrant red and yellow tones, due to the cayenne and turmeric we used. I suspect it will be both delicious and potent medicine! As someone who loves all things hot and spicy, I am very much looking forward to some immune boosting heat.

My husband’s landscaping work often has him coming home with aches and pains, so our next endeavour was to make up a liniment for him, using comfrey, valerian, calendula, cinnamon and cayenne in a base of rubbing alcohol. I am curious to see how effective it will be, as I have never attempted to use this kind of remedy before! As I understand it the alcohol evaporates after being applied to the problem area, allowing the herbs to penetrate the skin and do their work.

We also put together a couple of tinctures, using echinacea for immunity (it is that time of year after all!) and valerian, as a gentle sleep remedy. My kids and husband are not convinced by its dirty sock smell, but I have it in a soothing tea with skullcap and dried orange peel in the evening before bed, and find that I have come to appreciate its unique aroma. We also put together a couple of vinegar blends, specifically dandelion with balsamic and burdock with apple cider vinegar. I am really excited to try my hand at creating new salad dressing combinations with these mineral rich infusions!

Last but not least we put together a lavender honey, which we all thoroughly enjoyed preparing due to its lovely, soothing aroma. I am highly tempted to make my son a lavender and calendula pillow – or perhaps just a sniff of lavender honey from time to time if he starts getting overly rambunctious around nap time! It will be difficult to wait six weeks to finally taste the fruits of all of our labours, but I suspect it will be worth it in the end. In the meantime we will be busy shaking and stirring jars for the next week, before letting everything sit until Christmas.

I feel very lucky to have this opportunity to engage with herbal remedies with my kids. There is so much wonderful information out there, and I love that we are able to embark on this journey together. In addition to Lesley Tierra’s wonderful book, and John Gallagher’s recipe videos, we have also completed the Herb Fairies program together (which I can’t recommend highly enough – herbs are introduced using stories, recipes and colouring pages, my kids absolutely loved it!) as well as endless rounds of the Wildcraft game. Wildcraft is a fabulous, cooperative game that leads all of the players on a walk up the mountain to the huckleberry patch, learning about herbs and remedies as they move along. I am often amazed at how much my kids have picked up through this game alone! I also love the confidence they have in the healing properties of herbs, my younger daughter’s automatic reply, whenever any of us receive a cut or scrape is that “Mama’s balms will help with that.” I absolutely believe that conventional medicine is essential at times, but I love that these gentle herbal remedies have also found a very important place in our lives. I feel good about all of the love and care that goes into creating all of these herbal tonics, and appreciate that it is something we can all do together.

Betty was kind enough to give me permission to share one of the recipes from our class, a Nourishing Tea that we have been enjoying on a daily basis. Full of gentle, tonic herbs (meaning that they are ok consumed in reasonable amounts over long periods of time) the tea works to nourish and support our bodies, providing lots of essential vitamins and minerals needed to carry us through the cold season. This blend is gentle, however I would use caution during pregnancy. In general it is always a good idea to consult with a health care provider prior to taking herbal remedies, especially if you are unfamiliar with the ingredients.

Nourishing Tea Recipe – from the Herbal Apprenticeship Program with Betty Norton

Ingredients:

1/3 cup nettle leaf
1/3 cup alfalfa
1/3 cup oatstraw
1/3 cup peppermint
1/3 cup raspberry leaf

Directions:

Mix all herbs together in a large bowl, until well blended. This recipe will fit in a 1L mason jar. Our usual ratio is 1 tsp per 8 oz of water, and we have prepared it both as a hot infusion (herbs steeped in boiling water for 10 – 15 minutes) and also as a cold infusion (boiling water is poured over the herbs, which are then left to sit overnight to be consumed the following morning). Warm or room temperature, this blend is delicious!

If you are looking for somewhere to source your herbs, I can’t recommend Harmonic Arts highly enough. If you live on the Island and are interested in immersing yourself in some wonderful information, they are hosting a A Night of Tonic Harmonics, along with a Medicinal Mushroom workshop on November 28th, which I am very much looking forward to. If you live south of the border, Mountain Rose Herbs comes highly recommended.

I would love to hear about which recipes and remedies you have tried and loved, I feel as though I am at the tip of the iceberg and cannot wait to delve further!


The UnDiet Cookbook Review

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Headshot: Catherine Farquharson/Documentographer.com

Who knew that whole foods could be so delicious, and more importantly, so much fun? I have been looking forward to Meghan Telpner’s The UnDiet Cookbook for a long time; having experienced her recipes and teaching first hand, I knew I was in for a treat. After spending the past couple of weeks trying out the recipes, I can attest to the fact that this book is a gem!

Ronsonian Pumpkin Soup

Ronsonian Pumpkin Soup

I had the privilege to recipe test the TLT Deluxe Sandwich, back when the cookbook was in its initial stages, and it was a huge hit with everyone in my family. What I love most about Meghan’s approach (in addition to the sheer deliciousness of her recipes) is that there is no bottled sauce this and prepackaged that nonsense. Meghan includes lots of mouth watering sauces and condiments with her recipes, and each and every one in turn has it’s own recipe for DIY goodness. I love that this ensures that I know exactly what is going into everything I make, and engaging my kids in the recipe (and condiment) making process makes them that much more inclined to engage with and try the meals we prepare. I also love that Meghan provides multiple suggested uses for each of the sauce recipes; I have spent far too much time crafting sauces specific to one recipe, only to have them slowly shuffle to the back of the fridge due to lack of use.

TLT Deluxe Sandwich

TLT Deluxe Sandwich Mis En Place & Final Product

I love how family friendly this book is. The recipes are simple and straightforward enough to enlist the help of younger family members, and yet they are chock full of flavours that would please the most discerning chef. The photography is stunning, I had so much fun leafing through the book, watching my kids get excited about kale salad and a variety of breakfast delights.

Muffins & Drink

Banana Berry Oatmazing Muffins, Mocha Maca Magic and Coconut Apple Muffin Lovin’ on the road

I have to say, breakfast is one of my biggest challenges as a parent, as I am not one for a lot of sweetness first thing in the morning. I love that Meghan has provided so many delicious, savoury options for starting the day off right. Even the Chocolate Chocolate, Say It Twice pancakes, which definitely classify as sweet, contain hearty ingredients like tahini, coconut oil, and buckwheat and chickpea flour, which help to round out the overall glycemic load. I have tried quite a few parfait recipes, but Meghan’s nutrient dense, uber healthy and yet uber tasty Breakfast Parfection takes the cake. It is easy to see that a lot of careful consideration and an informed nutritional perspective went into the creation of these recipes.

Breakfast Parfection

Breakfast Parfection

I love the breakdown of the book. It starts with an informative and highly entertaining overview of Meghan’s food philosophy, followed by a helpful summary of foods to include and foods to avoid. Next up is a delicious selection of Decadent Drinks, including a few of my favourites: the Iced Mocha Maca Magic and the Stress Away Tea, perfect for a mid afternoon pick me up, or wind down as the case may be. I dug into the breakfast section next, closely followed by Dips, Crackers and Snacks. I know I am not alone in saying that healthy snack options are a huge challenge as a parent! I love that there are so many quick and easy options here – my kids loved the Roasted Reds Dip and my husband (and now everyone he works with) can’t get enough of the Sunflower Power Spread. I dove right into the soup section; the squash soups were a real highlight (might have something to do with the current season!) as well as the Immune Power Broth. I suspect it will be very helpful in navigating the often nasty cold and flu season we are embarking on. Salads and Main events hosted a gorgeous array of recipes, some of our family favourites were the I ❤️ My Kale Salad, Golden Girl Citrus-Spiced Tempeh, Dressed to the Nines Sweet Potato and the Feet on the Earth Indian Stew. Delicious! Several of the stellar desert recipes figured prominently in various candy free Halloween festivities, and I can honestly say none of the kids in attendance missed out as the selection of treats we provided was so thoroughly enjoyable.

Dressed to the nines sweet potato

Dressed to the Nines Sweet Potato

I found myself reading The Undiet Cookbook from cover to cover, as it doubles as a reference resource on health and nutrition. Meghan provides valuable health promoting tips in addition to the anecdotes that personalize each recipe. I enjoyed reading these aloud to my husband and kids. It helped them get even more excited about the food we were preparing, as they could understand the reasons and benefits behind our ingredient choices. One of the questions I get most as a parent is “why.” I love being able to provide answers, with Meghan’s well researched tips and tricks to back me up.

Immune Broth & Tempeh

Immune Power Broth & Golden Girl Citrus-Spiced Tempeh with Cauliflower Mega-Millet Mash

I learned to fully appreciate Meghan’s practice of promising a lot and delivering even more when I completed her Culinary Nutrition Expert Program two years ago. This book is no exception; in addition to the beautiful photography and mouth watering recipes, Meghan also provides wonderful lifestyle tips and personal care recipes that help integrate healthy practices into all aspects of your life. From toothpaste and tooth whitener, to body scrubs and deodorant, pretty much everything you might need for a healthy lifestyle is at your fingertips. The final section of the book includes helpful meal planning ideas for a variety of different occasions, including tips for navigating situations with friends and family where everyone may not be on the same page with diet and lifestyle practices.

Breakfast Paddy Whacks

Breakfast Patty Whacks with Spicy Mango Chutney

I love that Meghan presents all of this information with her signature joy and enthusiasm. What you see is what you get, her exuberance and dedication bounces off the page as you soak up all of her knowledge and wisdom. I appreciate that she shares this information from a place of confidence and ownership, rounded out with a good dose of humour. In a culture where we can often try to justify or apologize ourselves out of existence, it is refreshing to see someone who knows who she is, what she is about and has no hesitation in expressing it. We need more health crusaders like Meghan, who make following a healthy lifestyle both highly accessible and thoroughly enjoyable.

Crispy Rice Squares

Crispy Rice Squares

Meghan’s Chocolate, Chocolate Say It Twice pancakes are a decadent and delicious way to start the morning. They inspired my husband to do a happy dance, because in addition to being mighty tasty they are also the first pancakes he has made that have not stuck mercilessly to the pan. Well done, on both counts! Without further ado, here is the Chocolate, Chocolate Say It Twice Recipe. I almost typed “Make It Twice” as there is no way you’ll be able to resist returning to this deliciousness.

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Food Styling: Sara Kuntz Food Photography: Photo: Maya Visnyei Styling: Ashley Denton Props: Sara Kuntz

Chocolate, Chocolate, Say It Twice Pancakes

Nut-Free

Soy-Free

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes (or 5–8 minutes per set of pancakes)

Makes 8–10 pancakes

Dry Ingredients

3/4 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup arrowroot starch

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup chickpea flour

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

2 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients

1 egg or 1 serving Chia Paste (page 205 in The UnDiet Cookbook)

1 1/2 cups water

1/3 cup organic unsweetened organic applesauce or Simple Applesauce (page 204 in The UnDiet Cookbook)

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

3 Tbsp coconut oil or organic ghee, softened

1 Tbsp tahini

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips

Make It Like So

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients. The sifting is a bit tedious, but it does help with the pancake fluff factor. (You can skip it if you want, though.)
  2. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. If your coconut oil is solid, you may wish to warm it over the stove to liquefy it. (Sometimes I’ll totally cheat and throw all the wet ingredients into the blender.)
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mix, and then stir in the chocolate chips. If you like your pancakes on the thinner side, add a little more water to the batter. It doesn’t take much to thin the mix, so be careful. You don’t want your pancakes to become a runny mess.
  4. Heat your skillet to medium heat and dollop on some coconut oil or ghee. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter at a time into the hot skillet. Once you see bubbles start to form, it’s time to flip these babies over. The trick with pancakes is to keep the heat high enough to cook them through, but not so high that it burns the outside while the inside is left raw. Once you find the right spot on your stove, take note! Let the pancakes sit for 5 minutes before serving. This helps them firm up in the middle.
  5. Serve with your favorite toppings. I love shredded unsweetened, dried, shredded coconut, ground flax, ground goji berries, and a drizzle of Special Syrup (page 205 in The UnDiet Cookbook).

Excerpted from The UnDiet Cookbook: 130 Gluten-Free Recipes for a Healthy and Awesome Life by Meghan Telpner. Copyright © 2015 Meghan Telpner. Photography Copyright © 2015 Maya Visnyei and Catherine Farquharson. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd., a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.