Tuesday, March 27, 2018


For whatever reason, I've been craving more purple in my life lately.  Purple cabbage is so delicious sauteed with rapini, garlic and mushrooms, and in this case, some brown rice. I sprinkled a little ume plum vinegar on top to finish it.

In the same way that scents can blast us back to a bygone era, I find color combinations sometimes recall a special chapter for me.  This purple and green combo calls to mind one of my favorite college courses, oh so many moons ago!  As an Art History major, there was much to love, but taking place within a Decorative Arts Museum steps away from campus, this particular class stands out in a liminal space and time.  Decorative Arts include useful and decorative objects with which we live, and which provide us a rich knowledge of the culture of certain periods in history.  In this class, part of our curriculum dealt with the Neoclassical Period.  During this time, this green and purple combination was very popular in objects pertaining to royalty:  textiles, bone china, gowns, etc. 

Ah, college! I'd love to do it all over again.  It's funny how our daily lives can feel so mundane until we look back with greater perspective to see how truly grand they've been! There's obviously a lesson there for incorporating self-reflection going forward.  I'm so grateful for the memory elicited by my delicious royal meal.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Fire Cider

~This post is adapted from one originally posted on A Midlife Regeneration, my other blog about chronic illness.~

Have you heard of fire cider?  Looking for alternative virus deterrents, I happened upon this idea from a collection of old home remedies.  There are many recipes available online, and I came up with my own version based upon what I had on hand and incorporating some of my other favorite flavors.  You need to shake the jar every day so that no solids are continually exposed to air, which would form mold.  The recommended fermentation time is 30 days.  I didn't wait quite that long.

I crafted this tonic from apple cider vinegar, onion, garlic, horseradish, star anise, red pepper, rosemary, ginger, jalapeno, fennel seed and turmeric.

Here's the finished product:  gorgeous, no?  I had to try some right away.  YOWZA this stuff is powerful!!  Delicious, but whoa, nelly, this could kill any germ. It really is delicious, in a "hurts so good" kind of way.  I could only drink an ounce or two, which is good because that's the dose [I read this after I took it].

Fire cider is purported to solve seasonal allergies and ward off viruses [flu!!] and harmful bacteria.  Also, taken before meals, it stabilizes blood sugar and helps with digestion.

I took my dose straight, but most folks add something.  The cursory research I performed yielded these potential mixers:  a spoonful of honey, orange juice, broth [hmm -- like a hot and sour soup, I guess?], kombucha, seltzer water and vodka [! now we're talkin'].

Remember, friends, this fire cider is adapted from an ancient home remedy.  Though it holds the wisdom of countless old wives, use it sparingly, medicinally, lest you singe your innards.  If it's a vodka fire cider tonic you choose, let it be your one and only.  I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.  To your health!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Different Kind of Smoothie

Always striving to get more veggies, I've been experimenting with smoothies.  I love incorporating healthy fats like almond butter, avocado or coconut milk (to offset a potential glycemic spike) but this morning my appetite took its time waking up, so I opted for something less chewy. I grabbed a couple of purple carrots, a celery heart, a broccoli stem and a few red grapes.  Because of the grapes, fat was important, so I used a tablespoon of very good extra virgin olive oil.  The smoothie was mild and lovely, light and easy to drink.  It wasn't bulky enough to coat the stomach for all my pills, so I took them a little later after my second breakfast (I'm sounding like a hobbit).  This was a nice way to ease slowly into the day.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

This was seriously so delicious, and so easy!  When I served myself I put a handful of fresh arugula in the bottom of the bowl first.  It was noted at the table that I was eating vegetables upon vegetables, topped with vegetables.  True!

Don't be daunted by this large gourd.  I just poke a few holes in it with a fork, then bake it whole at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or more if it's a big'un.  The skin will be stiff, but you'll be able to feel that the inside is soft.  That's when you pull it out of the oven.  You can do this ahead of time and leave it out on the counter because it'll hold the heat for a long time.  Cooking it first makes it so much easier to slice.  I've never been a fan of trying to put a large blade into a raw, rock hard roly poly object.  Cooking it first is the way to go.  Then it stays put on your chopping block and slicing it is a breeze and you just scoop out the seeds and create noodles with a fork -- couldn't be easier.  The "noodles" are so flavorful, there's no need for butter unless you want it.

While the roasting happened, I made a quick puttanesca with an onion, several garlic cloves, a few sliced mushrooms and some sliced mixed olives sauteed in coconut oil.  I finished the sauce with a few tablespoons of prepared arrabiata sauce (spicy marinara in a jar).  Once off the heat, I added a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  I no longer cook with olive oil since the heat converts the delicate tocopherols to a more damaging fat, which matters to those of us with autoimmune issues.  Drizzling it on top at the end works better for me and maintains the fruity, virgin flavor. 

This easy, restaurant-quality meal will be on regular rotation here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Blender Juice

My Functional Medicine MD doesn't recommend juicing because it can create glucose spikes, but she approves of my fruitless juices (veggies only), since my sugar levels are good. 

I found a lovely papaya yesterday and decided to make papaya/celery juice, a combination that is very cleansing for the organs, while also replenishing minerals and electrolytes. Remembering my doctor's advice, I opted to use the Vitamix instead of the juicer for this.  Incorporating the natural fibers of whole fruits and vegetables takes care if the glucose issue.  We digest the sugars much more slowly this way.  This juice, a cup of papaya, a cup of celery, a little water, ice and sea salt, was much more delicious and filling than one would imagine.  My liver is smiling now!!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Watermelon Radishes!

I've always been a radish fan, so when I saw these at Whole Foods I couldn't resist.  At first they looked like slightly small turnips, but they are much larger than the radishes I'm used to.  Their humble outer appearance belies the glorious celebration of color within.  These are a little milder than red radishes, but still delicious.  They were fab atop salad and leftover basil rice. It was a great breakfast.