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Root Love

I’ve been doing a little hibernating lately.  It only seems appropriate during the shortest days of the year, and in soggy Portland.  My menu these days reflects my desire for warming, grounding, nourishing foods.

Chicken and root vegetables in white wine

Into my dutch oven start some chicken thighs cooking in white wine, added golden beets, turnips, parsnips, celeriac, rutabaga, garlic cloves.   Simmer in white wine with bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary, peppercorns, whole fennel seed, and a can of diced tomatoes, until the chicken falls off the bone, and the roots are tender.

Eat up and then go back to your good book by the fire!

roots and thighs

Grain Free Goji Berry Granola

I wanted to find a solution to what to eat with greek yogurt when I need a quick and easy snack/dessert.  Having discovered that I am much healthier and happier when I avoid grains in my diet, I’ve been missing my homemade granola.

seeds and such

Into a bowl I started tossing seeds and such.  Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chopped almonds, fennel seeds, ground cinnamon.  I melted a couple of tablespoons of butter and honey together, and tossed with the seeds until they were coated.

Next I spread it out on a sheet tray and baked in a slow oven (300)  until toasty and almost done.  Then I added some large flake coconut and put it back in the oven for a few minutes (watch it closely!) until toasty brown.

"granola"

After the mixture cooled, I added a few handfuls of dried goji berries (AKA wolfberries).  While I don’t usually indulge in dried fruit because it delivers such a big shot of sugar, goji berries have actually been helpful in balancing blood sugar, they are high in antioxidants, and protect the brain and the eyes.  If you are interested in reading more about goji berries click here.

Grain Free, Goji Granola

Store in an airtight container.  Eat as a snack or sprinkled on greek yogurt with berries.  Mmmmm.

Muffin beginnings

Still on my domestic roll here:

Grain Free Banana Raspberry Muffins

Makes 10 large muffins

6 eggs

1 banana, mashed up in the eggs

vanilla (I used a lot- like 2-3 tablespoons.  yes, really!)

cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter, melted

2 tablespoons coconut butter, melted (not coconut oil, but the actually fleshy buttery coconut spread-really hard at room temperature, but delicious and spreadable if you heat it up)

1/2 cup honey, melted

Mix together the wet ingredients.

almonds and coconut flour

1 cup whole, raw almonds

1/2 cup coconut flour

Grind finely in food processor.

1/4 cup flax seeds

Add to wet ingredients.

dry and wet

Mix together and add frozen berries of your choice.  I used raspberries, and I put in about 1 cup and a half.  Fresh berries would work too, but it is January.

Spoon into buttered muffin pan, bake at 325 until done.  I know, that’s skirting the issue.  But it’s true!  You want to check them after about 15 minutes and see how they are coming along.  Then every 10 min or so after that.  You can tell that they are done when they are browned on top, maybe cracking a little, come out of the muffin tin easily.  By all means, break one open and test it!

These muffins are high in protein, good fats, and fiber.  And fairly low in sugar.  They keep well and are a handy snack to have around!  I’m going back to my den now!

raspberry muffins

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Salmon and Turnips

Salmon and Turnips

We got turnips again this week.  I am ecstatic!  For lunch I sauteed them with some chopped ginger and scallions (coconut oil, of course), added a splash of tamari sauce and covered them for a minute to steam.  Then I added the greens in at the end and cooked them until they were wilted.  I served the turnips and greens with a piece of steamed salmon.

This week's CSA offerings

This week's CSA offerings

I am crazy in love with the turnips that we get from our CSA.  They are the white things on the right, a little bigger than the radishes.  If your only experience with turnips involves the overgrown purple and white root vegetable that has been sitting in the bin at the grocery store too long, I ask you to set aside your preconceived notions of the turnip.  This week was our first vegetable pick up of the season.  We have been members of the Sauvie Island Organics CSA (Community Supported Agriculture to learn more about community supported agriculture or to find a farm near you click on the link) for about 5 years now.   They do a bang up job of raising the most delicious, nutritious, variety of vegetables that come straight from the farm to us every tuesday from May to late November.  The first year we became members it was a challenge for my family of four (two teenaged boys) to eat all the vegetables every week.  I actually (gasp) started eating vegetables for breakfast!  Instead of a vegetable side dish at dinner we would have two or three different veggies.   We all know that as confusing as nutrition advice can be, everyone agrees on one thing:  Eat More Veggies! Now, five years later we easily consume our weekly treasure chest of fresh, organic vegetables.  And can I put in a plug here for feeding kids local, organic, real vegetables as opposed to slimy, “baby” carrots and bags of prewashed salad greens?  Organic, farm fresh food actually tastes better people!  Kids will eat it!    And when vegetables are as fresh and vibrant as these are, you really don’t need to doctor them up too much when you cook them.  A little olive oil, a sqeeze of lemon and some good salt (you know how I feel about that) is the only “recipe” you need!

Is it not true however that most things in life can be improved with bacon?  And that is my favorite thing to do with the Hakurei Turnips!  Sautee up a couple of pieces of bacon which has been cut into small pieces with kitchen shears.  Add some onions or leeks if you like.  Quarter the turnips and add them to the bacon.  Let them cook for a while in the bacon fat, stirring occasionally.  After about 10 minutes or so add a splash of vinegar.  Sherry vinegar, or red wine vinegar.  (As an aside, I keep dried burdock sliced soaking in a jar of red wine vinegar and use it for salads and things like this.  The burdock adds little flavor, but I feel I am adding a wonderful herbal tonic for my liver and blood whenever I use it!)  Cover the turnips with a lid of some sort and let them steam in the vinegar for a few minutes.  Then uncover and keep cooking until they are browned and fork tender.  Depending on the size of your turnip slices you may need to steam them in a little water also to get them cooked all the way through.  But be sure to brown them up a the end of the cooking time.  Salt and pepper to taste.   And don’t forget that the greens are delicious too!  Cook them up separately or throw them in near the end of the cooking time of the turnips.  Nutrition facts for turnips can be found here.   Turnips are a cruciferous root vegetable, a member of the brassica family and share similar health benefits to cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower.  They are low in calories (so don’t feel guilty about the bacon), high in vitamin C, and fiber.

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