Category Archives: Fall Recipes

Golden Milk, a spleen tonic

I’ve seen this recipe floating around the internets and finally had a chance to make it today.

It’s quite lovely. Perfect on a fall rainy day.

Yellow is the color of the spleen/stomach system in Chinese Medicine and yellow foods help to nourish this system. The spleen is active in times of transition and is responsible for transformation and transportation of the food we eat into useable energy.

This is a great alternative for an afternoon pick me up in place of coffee.

Like Nourished Kitchen says, it’s easy to find ginger. I found turmeric at Meijer, right next to the ginger :)

This is the recipe I used. Let me know what you think! Stay dry and warm today

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Change Your Breath, Change Your Mood

Generalities on Breathing:

You can not be stressed and breathe at the same time. It is not possible.
The breath is linked to the nervous system. Inhaling corresponds to your sympathetic fight or flight response; Exhaling corresponds to your parasympathetic stay and play response. Therefore when the exhale is longer then the inhale, relaxation and healing can occur in the body.Philosophy of Good Breathing:

Ancient Yogis believed that people have a certain number of breaths to live, not a certain number of years. If you want to see proper breathing watch a baby!

Most people do not breathe efficiently as a result of constricting clothes, poor posture or stress in a situation. Next time you are in a stressful situation take note of how you are breathing. Most times, stress or anxiety can cause the breath to become shallow, rapid and only from the chest or worse yet the breath is held. Redirecting breathing may allow perspective or feelings to be shifted about stressful situations. Also, in a position of poor posture with a rounded back and collapsed spine the diaphragm is unable to fully extend which causes breathing accessory muscles to work harder. (Think about those tight upper traps, levator scapulas and scalenes.)

Improper breathing changes the pH in the body, can cause one to pass out or faint and can even on a smaller scale leave one feeling fatigued and lethargic. Proper breathing is the fastest way to detoxify the body, the liver is actually resting next to the diaphragm. When you breathe your liver breathes with you.

 

Breath is the mirror of the mind. Here are some examples of what happens to our breath on a day to day basis:

• Fear- gasping for air
• Resisting something- hold the breath
• Anger- short jerky, incomplete breaths
• Fatigue- long inhales through the mouth. YawnFor optimal health, breathing should be preformed nasally and should be full and rhythmic. The breath should come in through the nose and out through the nose. The nose is anatomically designed to filter and warm the air for the lungs, therefore try to use it as nature intended.

The diaphragm is the primary breathing muscle, accounting for 75% of the power of respiration. In order to breathe efficiently, the abdomen must expand so that the diaphragm has “somewhere to go.” The ribs and intercostals must pull the chest wall out to expand the lungs the rest of the way.

Exhaling breathes should last as long as the inhaling breath. Making the exhalation last twice as long as the inhalation is even more beneficial. By making the exhalation longer, the recoil capacity of the chest increases (slightly) as the second set of intercostals contract to return the rib cage back to its original position. Also, the pressure between the inside and outside of the lungs is exaggerated thus helping to pull more air into the lungs.

 

Breathing Exercise:

The easiest way to explore the breath is lying supine. You can also try breathing in a seated or standing posture. Try not to let the mind wander.

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Three Part Breath:

1. Lie on a towel rolled lengthwise under your spine. The towel should run from the base of your ribs to support your head comfortably. If you back feels more relaxed with your knees bent bend them.

 

2. Begin first by becoming aware of your breath. Simply observe the way your breath feels try not to alter or change it. Note where your breath moves in your body and how you feel.

3. Place both hands lightly on your lower abdomen just below the navel. Slowly begin to deepen the breath into your lower belly and feel the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe into this part of your body. Do not force your breath where it is not ready to go start where your body is ready to be and visualize your breath deepening until it is where you would like it to be.

4. Next slide both hands to the other parts of your rib cage and feel your breath expand in your ribs.

5. Keep one hand on the outer rib cage and one hand on the lower belly and feel the breath expand between the lower belly to the rib cage as your inhale and relax first from the ribs to the lower belly as you exhale. Let the breath be relaxed as you inhale and exhale and let the transition from belly to ribs be smooth and seamless.

6. When this two-part movement is comfortable for you imagine your breath starting in the lower belly expanding to the outer rib cage and ending just beneath your clavicles. Let the air you inhale and exhale move in a triangle pattern from belly to ribs to clavicles. Do not force your breath where it is not ready to go start where your body is ready to be and visualize your breath deepening until it is where you would like it to be.

Think about the inhale expanding and rising upwards from the belly to the chest and the exhale falling and returning inward on the exhale. Let go of all of the air in the body before taking the next inhale.

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Yellow Squash Crisp with Date Caramel Sauce

I went to a sacred journey for the super moon and someone brought a yellow squash crisp. It was delicious. I have crooked neck squash growing in our garden this year and knew I would have to try my hand at a squash crisp with all the squash we have.

I adopted the squash to the apple crisp recipe from last fall. The extra ingredient this year is some fresh grated ginger.

Squash is great at strengthening the spleen/stomach system and is important to eat during seasonal transitions. It has a natural subtle sweet flavor.

What you need: (apple crisp) Continue reading

Homemade Granola Bars (healthy-ish)

I’m cautioning you now that if you make these granola bars you might be tempted to eat them all in a very short period of time, they are that good. :) So don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I came across this recipe awhile back for homemade granola bars. They are quick to make and they are delicious. Here are my adaptations so there are a few healthy additions for extra protein and healthy fats.

What you need:

1/2 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup local honey
1/2 cup almond butter or sunflower butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups quick oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup chocolate chips or cacao chips ( you could add or freeze dried strawberries or cranberries as well or use instead of the chocolate chips too)

What to do:

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Melt coconut oil, brown sugar, almond butter and honey on stove in a sauce pan over low heat. When ingredients are all smooth turn off heat and add the rest of your ingredients and stir until well blended. Press mixture into cookie sheet and and chocolate chips on top. (if you mix the chocolate chips into the mix they will melt) and put in freezer for 15 minutes to harden. Take out and cut into bars. I usually keep my bars in the refrigerator but they should do fine in a container in the pantry as well. :)

Enjoy!

 

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Recipe for Gentle Detox for After Thanksgiving

I posted a picture of this detox on the facebook page over the weekend. I’m going to start this blog with a disclaimer. In Chinese Medicine we almost never recommend a “detox” because it is too harsh on your body and can actually knock your body out of balance in the opposite direction. If your thanksgiving meal was mostly white this is a great way to gently nourish your digestion and clean your system out. I like starting this on Monday because most likely after thanksgiving you have slowly started to go back to eating your normal diet so its not quite as much of a shock to the system.

What you need:

2 lemons

1/2 cucumber

10 mint leaves or 1 drop of peppermint essential oil (preferable young living) I used essential oil because that’s what I had on hand

3 quarts of water

Directions:

Slice lemons and cucumber and drop into water. Add mint, You can gentle muddle the mint leaves to release the essential oils. Let sit so ingredients can infuse the water overnight. Drink first thing upon waking and before breakfast. This helps to bring your body into an alkaline state and revs up digestion. In Chinese Medicine cold and raw foods are almost never recommended except for maybe in the summer time. Drink this room temperature or add a little hot water to your infused water so that it is warm, this also helps with digestion. Peppermint is considered a cooling herb so if you tend to run cold you might considered leaving the peppermint out or switching with some fresh grated ginger, which is a warming herb. WARNING: you might experience an extra trip to the bathroom :) You might also find that you crave drinking more water this way.

This is a great routine to get in the habit of in general, don’t just wait to do when you overindulge.

Let me know what you think! My husband and I loved it. I’m feeling a little more energized this morning :)

*** If you are a nursing mama you might choose to omit the peppermint as it has been known to decrease milk supply.

Perpetual Chicken Stock

Its Thanksgiving week already can you believe it? This week’s recipe is for stock. I know I have mentioned it a lot recently and I just did this last week so I thought I would share. Last week a friend and I made chicken pot pie with chicken legs. We saved the bones and made perpetual chicken stock. I don’t know about you but it is so very satisfying to make a meal and not waste a thing! From a Chinese Medicine perspective bone broth is super nourishing for the Kidney/Urinary Bladder system of winter and its great for your digestion and absorption of everything else you eat. Here is an article from Weston Price touting all the delicious benefits of homemade chicken stock.  

 

What do you need:

crock pot

chicken bones (or other soup bones, make sure they are organic or straight from the farm)

mason jars

2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

whatever other veggies you want for your stock I used the scrapes from our chicken pot pie (carrots, celery, brussel sprouts, onion, peppercorns, garlic etc) and some beet greens that were still in the garden.

water

Directions:

Put your chicken bones and veggies in your crock pot and pot with cold water and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (the ACV helps to draw the marrow and gelatin out of the bones where all the good stuff is). Cover and turn on high. After first round take out at least 2 cups of broth (I filled a mason jar) then replenish the same amount of broth you took with fresh water. Strain out veggies and just let bones remain. Cook on low for next batch. Again when it is finished take out at least 2 cups or another mason jar and replenish with equal amount of cold water. Cook on low again. You can continue this for up to 7 days. Now you have chicken stock for all your recipes. You can even freeze the stock in the mason jars! Just make sure to first cool the stock in the refrigerator before putting in the freezer and leave room at the top for the liquid to expand. If I can steal the turkey bones from thanksgiving dinner I will be doing this again. :)

 

Lactation Cookies

There are a whole slew of slow cooker babies around Neighborhood Acupuncture Place these last couple of weeks. So I thought I would share my recipe for lactation cookies. If you’re not lactating you can eat them too they are delicious. 😉

If you are having trouble breastfeeding, if baby isn’t making lots of wet and poopy diapers get help sooner rather than later! Breastfeeding USA is an evidenced based mother to mother support group and the Algonquin meeting is the 2nd Tuesday of every month at Radiant Heart Yoga (1130 N Main St) from 10a-12p. Come to a meeting when you are pregnant so you know support is available. Come to a meeting if you have questions or need to get out of the house. (you don’t even have to worry about showering or getting out of your pjs if you don’t want to!) There is also a FB page if you have questions. Beth of BBBabies is an excellent lactation consultant and she will come to your house too.

Lactation cookies can give you a boost in your supply but they won’t fix your supply if there is a bigger issue happening. Nursing mamas get hungry and these are full of healthy fats, fiber and deliciousness. The black strap molasses, oatmeal, flaxseed, coconut oil and brewers yeast are considered glactogogues, meaning they support a healthy milk supply.

What you need:

1 cup coconut oil (don’t worry about melting if its solid)

1/2 c black strap molasses

1/2 c white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

2 cups of flour

2 cups of oatmeal

2 heaping tablespoons of ground flax seed

1 scoop of brewers yeast

a bag of chocolate chips or dried fruit

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375

Mix sugars, eggs, vanilla, and coconut oil. Add dry ingredients until mixed well. Stir in chocolate or dried fruit. If you are impatient grease an 8×11 pan and make bars or drop tablespoon size balls of dough on cookie sheets.

Bars bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cookies bake appx 11 min.

Gluten-Free, High Protein Pancakes (Waffles)

It’s no secret I have a sweet tooth. Whenever we go out for breakfast I always want to get the pancakes to satisfy my craving but know I will leave feeling yucky and not satisfied because I’ve missed out on protein and am overloaded with sugar. I came across this recipe and never have to feel I have to choose again! This was super simple, easy to make and was really delicious. I made the recipe with my waffle iron because I’ve never been a super pancake flipper but I think it would make equally great pancakes as the recipe was originally intended for. :)

What you need:

2 mashed ripe bananas

4 eggs

1 cup almond meal

1/3 c minced dates

1 teaspoon nutmeg

pinch of sea salt

carmalized ginger

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Mix ingredients together and cook how you would any regular pancake or waffle recipe. These come out fluffy and slightly delicate from the waffle maker. I used coconut oil to make sure they came off the maker easily. We topped with almond butter and honey but they were pretty good “plain” too. My daughter loved them as well. I also think these would be great as a pumpkin pancake if you switched out the banana for some homemade pumpkin puree.

Roasted Red Pepper Chili with Zucchini and Quinoa

This recipe is a great fall/winter recipe and its also great to eat postpartum. If you are not pregnant or recently had a baby skip the next few paragraphs to go straight to the recipe (and pass on to your pregnant friends). :)

This past weekend I took a placenta encapsulation training with Deb Pocica of Tranquil Transitions. The weekend was packed with so much useful information regarding postpartum recovery (and lots of it has nothing to do with placentas!). Since having a child of my own I have become super passionate about “mothering the mother”. We spend so much of our energy as mothers-to-be and society in general on the pregnancy and baby. The period of time following birth is an important time for a new mom to be nurtured so she can recover both physically and emotionally. Even the best of births are still hard work on a body!

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the postpartum period is a time of warming the mother up. This is often referred to in other cultures as mother-warming or mother-roasting but we will talk more about that later this week. It is believed that labor and delivery is depleting and leaves the woman susceptible to illness and cold. If the months following birth are filled with rest and nurture it is believed that a woman can actually heal other imbalances (allergies, eczema etc). If a woman fails to take good care of herself or lacks proper support from family and friends (or postpartum doula) problems such as postpartum depression can arise.

The easiest way to warm the body up is to eat warming and nourishing foods. Warming foods are those that are cooked, red veggies (especially those that “bleed” red like beets), and green leafy veggies are all strengthening especially for nourishing and building blood in Chinese Medicine. Especially the month after birth is an important time to eat homemade soups, chili, and stews. Avoid dairy (especially ice cream), raw foods and ice even in your water. Family and friends are always looking to help so ask some to cook for you or start a freezer stash of foods so you know you will be nourished in the weeks after your birth so you can spend as much time possible snuggling your new baby. :)

Here is a recipe to get your freezer stash going. And if you are not pregnant don’t worry this is an excellent fall/winter recipe in general! :)

I started with this recipe, below are my adaptations.

Roasted Red Pepper Chili with Zucchini and Quinoa

What you need:

  • 2 red bell peppers (heart/small intestine, {blood nourishing})
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 zucchini (chopped) (liver/gall bladder)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped) (lung/large intestine)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (lung/large intestine)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (warming)
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin (warming)
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (warming)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (homemade) or water (kidney/urinary bladder)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (lung/large intestine / spleen/stomach)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (kidney/urinary bladder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (kidney/urinary bladder)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with chipotles, undrained (I used tomatoes from the garden and roasted with the peppers) (heart/small intestine)
  • 1 15 ounce of white kidney beans (kidney/urinary bladder / lung/large intestine)
  • 1 15 ounce of red kidney beans (kidney/urinary bladder / heart/small intestine)
  • ground beef (organic and hormone free preferably)

Directions:

Preheat broiler

Cut bell peppers and tomatoes in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet, and flatten with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop.

In large pot cook onion and garlic until onions are translucent. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Sprinkle cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper over ground beef. Add zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers. I added an extra sprinkle of all the spices after I added the veggies to the mix. :) Add beans. Cook until veggies are tender.

In a seperate pan pour quinoa and water and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer covered until water is consumed and quinoa is soft. Mix quinoa with meat and veggies.

Enjoy!

Coconut Lime Butternut Squash Soup

If you haven’t noticed already I really enjoy soups. I used to be a terrible soup maker and then one day they started to all taste really good. Putting together a nice hardy soup is the perfect meal to have on hand for days you don’t feel like cooking or get home late or don’t feel like cooking. :) This is another week of transitions with the time change, it won’t make you sleepy but it will fill your belly. This batch made several tasty meals.

I started with this recipe here. Below are my adaptations.

  • 1 medium butternut squash (spleen/stomach)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (lung/large intestine)
  • 1 onion (lung/large intestine)
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into cubes (spleen/stomach)
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile pepper, or 1 tablespoons fresh minced chile pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 cups chicken stock (lung/large intestine)
  • 15 oz coconut milk (lung/large intestine)
  • Juice of 1 lime (liver/large intestine)
  • 2 cups spinach leaves (liver/large intestine)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • rice (spleen/stomach)

1. Cut squash length wise and deseed. Cook at 375 until tender about 45 minutes.

2. In coconut oil cook onion until fragrant and translucent. Add sweet potatoes and cook until tender 5-10 minutes or so. Sprinkle 1/2 of cumin and cinnamon and cook. When squash is cooked, scoop out in chunks and add to sweet potatoes. Add the rest of the spices and chicken stock, bring to boil and then lower to simmer. Mix in coconut milk and let simmer for 15 minutes.

3. 5 minutes before serving add spinach and cooked rice.

Enjoy!

p.s. You can turn this into a creamy soup if you put in the blender but I recently broke my blender and we really enjoyed it this way. It felt more filling. If you are feeling adventurous add some raisins! :)