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...I feel thinner in the middle...dare I say?

The caffeine withdrawal is over and not taking afternoon naps anymore and feeling loaded with energy and a sense of contentment. Just a slight smile on my face all day. I am much nicer to people, things get done easily, and the day just seems to go by nicely.

I am loving this program and working with you. So great!!!

Creamy Kale with a Citrus Twist

I didn’t think the classic Creamy Kale could be improved upon but everyone in my cooking class loved this version with a a little added fresh orange juice and pine nuts. Try it!

Creamy Citrus-y Kale Salad

1 bunch organic dinosaur kale
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt (or any high quality sea salt – I love this one: Trapani Sea Salt)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 scallions, chopped, white and light green parts only
2 tomatoes, seeded (cut in half and squeeze to remove the seeds) and diced
2 ripe avocados, diced
3 tablespoons lightly toasted or raw pine nuts

Wash the kale leaves and remove the ribs and stems. Cut the leaves into thin strips. Massage the kale leaves with the Himalayan sea salt and citrus juices. Add the avocado and oil and continue to massage. To finish add the chopped scallions and tomatoes and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts.

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Small Farm Summit Workshop

I had a great time today giving a workshop on Juicing and Green Smoothies for Optimal Health and Vitality at the Small Farm Summit. Thanks to everyone who came! As promised I’m posting the 2 recipes we prepared in the class and also a few resources.

The Mean Green Juice

From the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

1 bunch curly kale (washed, ribs left on)
1 medium cucumber (unpeeled)
4 stalks of celery
1 apple (unpeeled)
1 whole lemon – without the rind – use a knife to remove
1-inch piece fresh ginger (unpeeled)

All organic and into the juicer in the order listed. Makes approximately 35 ounces.

 

Easy Green Protein Smoothie

1 ½ to 2 cups filtered water
¼ cup frozen organic peaches
1 organic apple, core removed, peeling on
3-4 handfuls organic baby spinach
½ organic cucumber, peeled
½ inch peeled fresh ginger
1 lemon, rind removed
1 organic medjool dates, pit removed
1 tablespoon Hemp Seed Powder (equals 6 grams of protein – I like Navitas Naturals)

Blend all ingredients until smooth in a Vitamix or high-powered blender. Add 1 ½ cups of the water first and then add additional water as needed to get desired thickness. Serves 2.

My equipment:
The Breville Icon Juicer
The Vitamix Blender 5200

Rethink your drink! Check out all the sugar in some of America’s favorite drinks…
4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of white granulated sugar.

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Starting an Edible School Garden

It’s really not as hard as it sounds. I wanted to give an outline of our process to hopefully break it down into manageable steps to inspire other parents to think about starting gardens at their kids schools. Enthusiasm, a little cash (we spent $1500 to build the garden and will spend approximately $500 yearly to maintain it) and a sunny plot of land are the three vital components.

 

The journey began three years ago when I gave a presentation to the Green Vale School Sustainability Committee. Part of my presentation involved the construction of an organic vegetable garden on the grounds of Green Vale. Shortly thereafter I joined forces with another Green Vale parent and along the way many other people stepped up to donate money, time and services to help make the garden a reality. Green Vale parent and architect Brooks Slocum donated a beautiful detailed plan of the raised bed garden. We were able to purchase the cedar lumber locally and the compost and soil came from a nursery in Glen Head, New York. We all joined forces with Green Vale staff and our volunteer architect and built the eight raised beds in one day. A few weeks later I was able to arrange the donation of a soaker sprinkler system with a timer to provide us with water all summer long. We announced the completion of the garden at a Green Vale Parent’s Association meeting, and had 20 people, both parents and teachers, sign up to help. From those volunteers we assigned weeks to plant, weed and harvest throughout the spring and summer.

As school came to a close in June we were able to bring lettuce, spinach, radishes, sugar snap peas and strawberries into the cafeteria with the help of our head chef Joanne. She made an amazing spring salad with some of the vegetables from the garden and made sure to have a sign next to it that read “From the Green Vale Garden”. This is a great way to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that kids are much more likely to eat fruits and vegetables they have grown themselves.

That fall the Green Vale Garden became part of the 6th grade science curriculum. They started their seedlings in September, measuring their plants and taking notes. Also that fall we harvested the last of the watermelon, zucchini and cucumbers. The carrots and peppers continued to thrive and the green beans were a fantastic fall crop and a great addition to the cafeteria. In September a nursery class of 3 year olds came by and took a tour of the garden. They picked – and tasted – carrots and cherry tomatoes and took a large zucchini back to their classroom – calling it a “large banana”. A 6th grade science class came by as well to measure the plants in their raised bed.

As we begin our 3rd season with the garden, our latest endeavors are partnerships with Bailey Arboretum and organic farmer Walter Hegarty of Kaos Farm in Old Westbury. Walter helped us plant broccoli and cauliflower seeds with the lower school student council at the Bailey greenhouse in February (see photo above). The Green Vale upper and lower school student councils will help with planting, weeding and harvesting this spring. We look forward to bringing as many veggies into the cafeteria as we can before school gets out!

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Craving Attack Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate cravings should not be taken lightly. The trick is to find the purest, healthiest way to address them. This creamy pudding will nourish you with dark chocolate and omega-3 fatty acid-rich coconut oil and raw almond butter.

¼ cup raw, creamy almond butter
¼ cup organic medjool dates, pitted
¼ cup raw cacao powder
1 ripe banana
1 tablespoon pure coconut oil (can be solid)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch pink Himalayan sea salt
1/8 cup water (add in stages to get desired consistency)

Combine ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Serve with fresh berries. Serves 4.

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Tomato and Roasted Beet Salad with Hummus

This salad has it all: packed with protein and nutrients. The brown rice tortillas by Food for Life are gluten-free and 100% natural. I keep multiple bags in my freezer and pull them out all week. This is one of my favorite ways to eat them, baked to a crisp in the oven and served with homemade hummus and a simple salad with roasted beets and toasted pine nuts.

3 handfuls of pre-washed organic salad greens (I like the herb mix straight from the box)
½ cup organic grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 organic roasted beet, cut into 1-inch chunks (see recipe below)
1/4 cup homemade hummus (see recipe below)
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (toast raw pine nuts on a flat sheet pan for 2-3 minutes in a 400 degree oven)
Brown rice tortilla crisps (see recipe below)
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Himalayan Sea Salt or Fleur de Sel (French Sea Salt) and fresh black pepper

Arrange all the ingredients in a salad bowl and drizzle with the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Add a couple of tortilla crisps, a sprinkle of sea salt and some fresh black pepper and you’re good to go. Delicious lunch!!!

Organic Roasted Beets

3 medium sized organic red beets

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and cut off just the end parts of the beets, do not peel. Arrange in a row on a long piece of foil and fold up lengthwise and then fold up the ends to form a tightly sealed pouch. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven, open the pouch and let cool slightly. Hold each beet under cold water and let the skins fall off easily under the running water. Cut into chunks and store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Classic Hummus with Cumin

1 15 ounce can, no salt added, organic chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) rinsed well and drained
5-6 tablespoons filtered water
½ cup tahini (ground sesame seed paste)
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Blend the chick peas in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the water gradually and process until smooth, add the remaining ingredients and continue processing. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.

Gluten Free Tortilla Crisps

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil onto 1 frozen Food for Life brown rice tortilla and sprinkle with Himalayan sea salt. Place directly on the oven rack and bake for 4-5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Let cool slightly and break into large triangles to dip into the hummus.

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Super Bowl Turkey Chili

I made this last night and everyone, including kids ages 10 and 12, gobbled it up. Humanely raised, organic animal protein in moderation is where I find myself these days and it’s working for us as a family. This spicy chili has great depth of flavor. I’ve never cooked with chocolate, but I’ve always liked molé sauce and all dark chocolate in general, so I wanted to test this out. The recipe makes a large pot of chili which could serve 12-14. I would eliminate one of the jalapeno peppers and the red pepper flakes if you’d like a less spicy version.

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (added in stages)
1 chopped organic yellow onion
1 organic red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 organic yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound organic ground turkey (white meat)
¼ cup finely chopped organic cilantro stems
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon unsweetened cacao powder (Navitas Naturals)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon 100% pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 carton Pomi chopped tomatoes (26 ounces)
1 jar Eden organic crushed tomatoes in an amber glass jar (25 ounces)
***see tomato notes below
5 cups low sodium organic chicken broth
4 cups **cooked** assorted organic beans (Whatever you like! I used my own mix of dried barlotti, garbanzo, adzuki, cannellini, kidney, black and fava beans. See the directions for cooking the dried beans below.)
¼ cup chopped organic cilantro leaves

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a 4 quart large, heavy saucepan and, when hot, add the onions and both the red and yellow bell peppers and cook until vegetables are soft and lightly caramelized, about 6 minutes. Add the jalapenos and garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the turkey, cilantro stems, chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin, salt, oregano, maple syrup, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring to break up any lumps, until the turkey is cooked through and the spices are very fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, crushed tomatoes and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. To finish, add the cooked beans and chopped cilantro and cook another 15 minutes.

**To cook the beans:**
Boil 3 cups of dried assorted beans in a large pot of water with 1 teaspoon of salt and two 2-inch pieces of dried Kombu seaweed to reduce the potential gas producing effects of beans. I don’t know how this works but really it does work. After 1 hour drain the beans and remove the 2 pieces of Kombu. The beans will be tender and ready to add to the chili.

Canned Tomato Alert…
Don’t use canned tomatoes! They contain very high levels of the chemical Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, due to the high acidity of the tomatoes. Organic tomato products sold in glass are best. Eden is the brand I like because they have just come out with a line of organic tomato products sold in amber glass. I used this type in the chili recipe, along with Pomi chopped tomatoes in a carton, however the Pomi are not organic.

Check out Green Mom in the Burbs take on it.

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Superfood Power Bars

These bars are delicious and super satisfying…but they need to be kept in the freezer to stay in “bar” shape. If you travel with them in a ziplock back they will break apart but taste the same. Your hands will get messy making them. Have fun!

½ cup almonds
½ cup walnuts
½ cup pecans
½ cup cashews
½ cup pumpkin seeds
*note: all the nuts and seeds above should be raw and unsalted
½ cup raw cacao nibs
½ cup goji berries
¼ cup shredded coconut flakes (no sugar – check label!)
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
4 tablespoons of honey (raw and local is best)
1 cup organic medjool dates, pits removed and firmly packed
¼ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Process the raw cocao powder, the honey and the medjool dates in the bowl of a food processor until creamy, periodically scraping down the sides of the bowl. Roughly chop the nuts by placing them in a plastic ziplock bag and crushing them with the flat side of a meat tenderizer or the back of metal spoon. Blend in a large bowl by hand all the remaining ingredients, including the chocolate mixture. Spread in one flat layer onto a 9×13 inch pan. You will need to rub your hands with olive oil so you can press the mixture down into the pan evenly without it sticking to your fingers. Chill in the freezer for at least 6 hours. Remove the pan, score and then cut into bar size pieces. Return the bars to the freezer in an air-tight container until ready to serve.

Makes 8-10 bars.

 

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Rich and Creamy Hot Chocolate

This is an all-time favorite in our house. Pure dark chocolate is a powerful antioxidant and high in fiber. Also dark chocolate is a potent mood booster. Just what we need to start the new year and keep us happy all winter long!

1 cup unsweetened organic almond milk, heated to a simmer (Pacific Vanilla)
2 tablespoons organic 100% chocolate powder (Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao Powder)
3 tablespoons agave nectar (I order this raw organic amber variety in a glass bottle from Natural Zing)

Begin by heating the almond milk until it’s simmering. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a mug mix the chocolate powder, agave and a drop of the almond milk with a small whisk until completely combined. It will form a very thick chocolate syrup – this takes patience – it will eventually combine. Slowly add the remaining hot almond milk to the mug and continue whisking to combine.

Makes 1 serving of very rich and delicious hot chocolate.

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Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

I’m always looking for great ways to add more chia seeds into my life and this pumpkin pudding is the perfect vehicle. Chia seeds are a fantastic plant-based source of essential fatty acids or EFA’s, even better than flax. Chia seeds are also a great source of protein, have 5 times the calcium of milk, and more iron and potassium than spinach and bananas. Wow!

Many thanks to Angela at Oh She Glows! I doubled her recipe in my Healthy Cooking 101 class yesterday and everyone loved it. All my cravings for pumpkin pie filling were satisfied and without the guilt. This will be in my fridge all winter long.

1 ½ cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 cups canned organic pumpkin
4 tablespoons whole chia seeds (I used Navitas Naturals)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together all ingredients until combined and no clumpy bits remain. Place bowl in the fridge to thicken and chill for 1-2 hours or overnight. I served mine with organic raisins and toasted pecans.

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Baby Bella and Bok Choy Pasta

I could barely keep from eating this long enough to photograph it! It was seriously good. Leeks and mushrooms sautéed together are fantastic. This dish is rich and satisfying. I happened to have a little leftover grilled organic chicken which I added at the very end. Totally optional. I also used my favorite gluten free brown rice pasta by Jovial.

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
3 cups Baby Bella (portobella) mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 leek, white and light green parts only, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
4 heads baby bok choy, tough stem-ends discarded, dark green and white parts sliced in 1 inch pieces
4 large handfuls organic baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound box of Jovial gluten free pasta, I like the “caserecce” shape

Sauté the garlic, olive oil and leeks over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté, stirring continuously for another 5 minutes. If the mixture seems dry, you can add a little filtered water. Once the mushrooms release their juices a sauce will develop. Add the baby bok choy and cook until the white stems of the bok choy are soft, 2-3 minutes. To finish, add the spinach and 4 cups of the cooked pasta and stir until the spinach is wilted and the pasta is thoroughly combined. Taste and add additional kosher salt and pepper if needed.
Serves 4.

Optional: I threw in 1 cup cooked organic chicken when I added the pasta, chopped into 2 inch pieces

Bok Choy: Super Green

“This leafy green cabbage is the number one veggie in China and boasts 10 times the recommended amount of vitamin A in just one cup. Packed with antioxidants, it’s no surprise that several studies show that high intake of Brassica vegetables (a family of vegetables including kale, broccoli, and bok choy) may reduce the risk of certain cancers, including prostate cancer.”
An excerpt from 5 Healthy Fruits and Vegetables You Aren’t Eating.

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I’m a Certified Diet and Lifestyle Coach. I coach active men and women who are ready to feel better and take control of their health by embracing whole foods and finding balance in all areas of their lives. My specialties include healthy cooking classes utilizing local, organic, sustainable ingredients and meal plans which address food allergies, sensitivities and special diets.

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Healthy Cooking

Wednesdays from 11:00-1:00
Class Dates:
October 15, 29
November 19

Learn how to prepare delicious and nutritious meals the whole family will love. Every class will include a smoothie, salad, main course and dessert. Recipes and lunch included.

Raw Vegan 101

Wednesdays from 11:00-1:00
Class Dates:
October 22
November 5

In these classes we will cover a variety of raw vegan green juices, smoothies and salads designed for optimal health and cleansing. Recipes and lunch included.