What Can You Do With THESE Fruits and Veggies?

Hey friends! I hope you're all doing well and enjoying the season.

On my Twitter and Facebook pages, I've asked my readers to tell me what produce item they have trouble figuring out what to do with. The answers were everything from basic veggies like cabbage and beets to unusual things like rutabega and persimmons. (Confession: Even I have never used a rutabega!)

So, for February, I'd like to devote EACH day to a new fruit or vegetable that you've asked about. And if you haven't asked yet, feel free to comment under this post with your request.

Part of my mission in life is to get us all happily, yummily eating our vitalizing fruits and veggies, so this project really excites me! And I hope it will give YOU a new lease on eating more fresh produce items as well.

So, please tune in tomorrow where the featured item will be...

Guilt-Free Chocolate Truffles!

I recently asked the lovelies on my Facebook page which recipes they'd most like to see a healthy and vegan redux for. All kinds of answers came in - everything from cream filled desserts (there were a lot of requests for those!) to nachos. The winner was Erica Lint and she wanted to know how to make a healthier version of chocolate truffles. So, Erica, here's my favorite recipe for them - hope you enjoy!

Guilt-Free Chocolate Truffles!

Glorious, divine, scrumptious, and guilt-free, these truffles will make you giddy...and quite popular! This recipe is from the second edition of my first book, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth.

Cashew-Vanilla Cream:

½ cup each: raw cashews and nondairy milk (soy, rice, almond, or coconut)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon sea salt

Chocolateness:
10 oz. bag (1¾ cups) nondairy semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine

Optional Mix-Ins: chopped peanuts, chopped crystallized ginger, crushed peppermint candy canes (you can find a natural version in health food stores), cacao nibs, minced orange or lime zest (organic), or fairy dust

Optional Holy Rollers: organic powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cacao nibs, crushed peppermint candy canes (you can find a natural version in health food stores), chopped peanuts, or chopped pecans

1. In a food processor or blender, puree the cashews, milk, vanilla, and salt until completely creamy and emulsified. Set aside.

2. In a double boiler (or small pot set to the lowest heat imaginable), heat the chocolate chips and margarine, stirring often, just until melted. Do not overcook!

3. Stir the cashew-vanilla cream into the melted chocolate until well mixed. If you wish to add any of the optional mix-ins, stir them in now. If you like, you can make a few different mixtures for variety. Set your mixture(s) aside in the fridge or freezer until thick enough to work with. In the freezer, this usually takes about 30 minutes and in the fridge it usually takes 1½ hours or longer.

4. When it’s firm enough to work with, let it come in from the cold. Remove about one tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball. If desired, roll it in some of the optional holy roller items. Have some fun with different coatings here—get crazy! But not too crazy. Set aside on waxed paper or on a plate.

5. Repeat about 29 times, or until there is no longer any chocolate left in a non-spherical state. Place the chocolate truffles in the fridge until you’re ready to beckon them. Have fun daring people to eat just one.

Makes about 30 truffles

Creamy Adzuki Beans

How often do you hear a resounding response of “yummm!” when serving up a pot of beans? As often as you make this dish, my friend! This is delicious enough to serve to guests, yet simple enough for a casual meal alongside a salad and some bread or rice. Yummmmm…
Recipe from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth.

(photo by Michelle McCluggage)

1½ cups dry adzuki beans
3-inch piece of kombu (see page 252)
2 cups water
½ cup diced onion
2½ teaspoons cumin powder
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
14 oz. can coconut milk

•¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

•2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
•4 medium-large cloves garlic, pressed
•2½ teaspoons sea salt (or less)

Optional Garnish:
•¼ -½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a pressure cooker (or a large pot with a tight fitting lid), bring the beans, kombu, water, onion, cumin, tomatoes, and coconut milk to a boil over medium-high heat.

2. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the beans are tender. In a pressure cooker, this will take about 25-35 minutes. In a regular pot, this will usually take about two hours. Am I selling anyone on the idea of a pressure cooker here? Any pressure cooker executives want to give me some money? Once the beans are tender, remove the kombu and stir in the remaining items (all but the cilantro). Serve plain or garnished with cilantro. Yummmm……

Serves 4-6; GF/SF/Blue

Ten Surefire Ways to Beat Cold and Flu Season This Year!

Greetings, friends! I hope you're all enjoying the New Year so far. I plan to make this my healthiest year ever and it's off to a great start...creating recipes for my upcoming superfoods book is keeping me focused on healthy, whole, supercharged foods. And this for me is the surest way to avoid illness.

However, most of us are coming off of several weeks of Holiday eating. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve always beckon us to overindulge. Even the best of us often fall short of healthy eating during these times. And unfortunately, several of my readers are not feeling well and have asked for some tips on getting better using natural methods.

So, in the interest of getting and staying healthy, I wanted to let you in on my top ten tips for beating illnesses. If you're already feeling great, these tips will ensure that you stay that way and easily fend off any illnesses. If you, however, are under the weather now, these tips will get you back on track before you can say "miso soup."

These are all tips I've personally used with excellent success and that I believe in 100%. And if you have some tips of your own, I'd love to hear them!

Ten Surefire Ways to Beat Cold and Flu Season This Year:

1. Work in these powerhouse foods whenever possible...I call them my "Fab Five" Immune Boosters. They are: garlic, shiitake mushrooms, kale, hot chili peppers, and miso. In fact, I even created a soup called "Immune Power Soup" that many of my readers swear by. For those of you who have Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, you may want to whip up a batch.

2. Ginger up. Ginger is a great way to dispel colds and mucus (yuck, I know...sorry) as well as boost the immune system. If you have a juicer, ginger juice can rock your world. If you're a serious bad*ss, go ahead and juice the root up and drink it like a shot. Yee-ow! Or make a yummy juice out of carrots, celery, ginger, lemons, and parsley. Liquid medicine.

3. Increase your vitamin C intake. Mama was right - vitamin C helps to boost your reserves and speed up recovery.

4. Reduce or eliminate the following foods and you'll be golden: Meat, dairy products, sugars, and refined foods (especially white flour). The more you can focus on fresh, whole, plant-based foods, the more amazingly bomber your immune system will be.

5. Choose organics. They contain far more nutrients than conventionally grown foods and are free from harmful chemicals that knock your system down.

6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! If you're under the weather, drink at least a gallon of water a day - made even more effective if you add fresh lemon juice to the water whenever possible.

7. If you're already feeling ill (or think you might be getting sick), herbal remedies can be your best friend. Echinacea, oil of oregano, and osha are all very helpful. For best results, consult your local herbalist (or ask me to hook you up - one of my best friends is the world's best herbalist and makes an amazingly effective immune tonic).

8. There's a tea I once invented that I swear by for clearing up a cold and getting rid of a sore throat. Here's the catch, though - no one ever wants to drink it because it's so strong-tasting! However, I know you're braver than that, right? And if you really want to feel better, give this bad boy a shot: In a teaball, place some loose sage and thyme. Steep in hot water, then add a squirt each of the following tinctures: myrhh and slippery elm. As you drink the tea, you can also gargle it for even better results. Repeat several times per day until your symptoms are gone. I told you it tasted bad, but don't you feel better now?

9. Add probiotic-rich foods to your diet. My favorites are kim chee, kombucha, and Nancy's soy yogurt. YUM. When I eat/drink those things, I can literally feel my body saying "Ahhhhhh" and "Thank you!"

10. Be happy. Think positive. Know that you CAN be healthy. You really DO have the power to choose high-level health for yourself.

Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope at least one of these suggestions will prove helpful for you as you make 2011 YOUR healthiest year ever!