Tip of the Day: For the Love of Broccoli!

Broccoli! It's so hard not to love it, especially when it's prepared with love and care...and lots of flavor! Here are a few tips on this lovely, nourishing vegetable. Perfect timing too, because for many of us, it's locally available right now! So, here we go...again with the tips:

1. Don't toss those stems away! Did you know that, deep down below that rough exterior, they are delicious and tender? To expose their sweet nature, simply cut off the bottom 1-inch portion, then peel the rest using a vegetable peeler or small, sharp knife. From there, you'll want to dice the peeled stem into small pieces so that it cooks evenly along with the less humble portion of the broccoli (the florets).
2. For a delicious, easy side dish, try baking your broccoli. How to explain the deliciousness of this method? I cannot. You simply must try it. To do so, preheat your oven to 400F. Then, wash and trim the broccoli and cut into bite-sized pieces (and yes, please involve the peeled stem portions). Next, toss the broccoli into a large bowl. Add some olive oil, seasoned salt, and minced garlic (or garlic granules). Toss well until evenly coated. Spread out in a single layer on a large cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Stir and bake another 10 minutes or so--or until the broccoli has lovely bits of dark brown on it. This means it is very tender and at its best. Yum! Serve immediately.
3. If you're busy during the week, find a time on the weekend to prepare your broccoli. Wash it, then cut it up into bite-sized pieces and store it in an airtight container. That way, you'll be much more likely to use it since you'll see it waiting patiently and ever-prepared for whatever you have in store for it.

Tip of The Day!

Wow--Amaranth! The more you know about this amazing grain, the more you will associate it with the word "wow."
This grain is so nutritious that scientists have actually classified it as a C4 plant. What does this mean? Well, my friend...this means that it's crazy nutritious. Simply insane. It's so nutritious, in fact, that people in lab coats had to scratch their heads and come up with a whole new elite group to put it in.
It just didn't fit anywhere else.
I happened to post on Twitter last night that I'd stumbled across some amaranth growing in my backyard. This morning when I checked my Twitter account, I was surprised at the response I'd gotten. Everyone wanted to know more about where to find it and how to cook it.
So, here are a few amaranth tips...
1. To cook amaranth, think pasta, not rice. In other words, boil it in far too much water and then drain it. Don't add just enough water (as you would with rice) and let it totally absorb...this is the road to gummy amaranth. No, you want lovely, separated grains. Pearls of happiness. And this you will achieve, quite simply, by boiling, simmering, then draining.
2. Amaranth grain and flour can be found in most self-respecting health food stores. However, the leaves can be found in my backyard. And no, there isn't enough to share with everyone. Sorry. If I had enough, really I would. But it's just a few stray plants at this point. In other words, if you want lots of the amaranth greens, you will probably have to plant them yourself. But the good news is: they grow like crazy, need little assistance, and promise to nourish you like nothing else!
3. Try substituting some amaranth flour when you have a recipe that calls for a non-gluten flour. In other words, it won't work if you need to use an all-purpose flour (that will rise in breads, for example), but it's great for just about everything else. It adds flavor, nutrients, and interest to all kinds of baked goods! Not to mention excellent juju.

Tip Of The Day!

Brown Sugar Woes?

Are there tears on your placemat due to perpetually rock-hard brown sugar? Think there's nothing you can do about it?
Think again, sister! Here's a tip that's easy...and that really works. The next time you feel sad about your rocky road sugar, just do the following:
1. Open the bag.
2. Take a clean washcloth and wet it. Wring out any excess moisture (you want it very moist, yet not drippingly so...and yes, drippingly is a word. At least for today.).
3. Place that washcloth over the open portion of the bag so that it covers it completely.
4. Let it sit overnight...and if it complains about having to sit, you can give it a pillow.
5. Voila! In the morning, what do you have? Yes, it's true: the perfect, soft brown sugar to sprinkle on your oatmeal.

Immune-Boosting Kid's Kale!

Kale! Kale! Oh, my sweet, sweet kale. Lacinato, I love you. You make my immune system so much stronger than it would be without you. You slyly sneak greens into the otherwise resistant mouths of children. You are full of iron, chlorophyll, nutrients, and good juju. You make us all look and feel our best when we remember to include you at dinnertime. I heart you. Don't ever leave me.
OK, I've had two kombuchas and I'm a little silly today. But, in all seriousness, kale is amazing! Kids will eat it, adults will eat it, and you will love it....when, in the name of all that is good and holy, it is prepared properly. Contrary to popular belief, kale does NOT need to be cooked forever. It can be cooked just until it's bright green and slightly tender. The following recipe is from my 2nd edition book, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth. Try it, you'll love it!
...And, in case you didn't know it, kale really will be one of your best friends as we move into "cold and flu season." Because if you eat power-charged foods like kale daily (along with other superfoods like shiitake mushrooms, garlic, etc...), chances are your immune system will be able to resist those little germs that would otherwise pester you. So, this season, try getting pro-active. Instead of worrying about sickness (even if it's all around you), focus on keeping your immune system so strong that nothing can assail you. Because it's not only possible, it's more fun that way.

Kid’s Kale

When children first see this, they often proclaim that they will have nothing to do with it. However, when they finally try it, they invariably scarf it down and ask for seconds! You can feel like a champion eating this, as kale is one of the most immune boosting, energizing, and strengthening vegetables around. It is also ridiculously high in calcium, iron, and vitamins. Admittedly, I belong to the elitist cult that prefers the lacinato variety (also called black kale).

½ lb. (2 cups packed) lacinato kale ribbons
2 tablespoons liquid vegetarian broth
1 teaspoon oil (coconut, olive, or sunflower)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2-3 teaspoons tamari, shoyu, or soy sauce
Last Additions:
•2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
•1 teaspoon nutritional yeast powder
1. Wash the kale well. Lay it on a cutting board and cut off the ends (about two inches off of the base), which will include the toughest portion of the stems. I don’t remove the stems above this point, as they are tender enough to eat when cooked (if they are finely chopped).
2. Cut the kale into thin ribbons. You should have 2 cups (packed) of kale ribbons. Next, place the kale along with the broth, oil, garlic, and two teaspoons of the tamari into a medium-large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. I prefer to cook my kale less, more toward the 5 minute end, although many people like theirs more well done. You make the choice.
3. Toss with two teaspoons of the lemon juice and the nutritional yeast powder. If desired, add the additional tamari and lemon juice to taste. Enjoy the brilliant flavor and powerful antioxidants!
Serves 2; 30 minutes or under! GF/Green

Kid's LOVE veggies! Here's the proof.

To the left, we have Alethea using the spiralizer to make "carrot hair."
To the right, we can observe that eating "carrot hair" is fun. Oh, and that's a little chocolate on her nose from the zucchini chocolate chip muffin she just ate. Good times.
So, usually it's no problem to get my 6-year-old to eat carrots. But today she wasn't into it, so I decided to bust out the big guns. The spiralizer. Fun and nutrition all rolled into one.
This particular spiralizer was bought through Amazon (Benriner brand) and cost about $50. It works great and has stayed really sharp for years. The spiralizer also works fabulously for beets, zucchini, and other vegetables with at least a 1-inch diameter and relatively firm surface. The spiralizer has gotten popular mainly for its ability to turn veggies like zucchini into a raw pasta. However, I mostly use it just to make a really inviting texture out of carrots or beets, tossing it on top of my salad. Fun!