Winter Farmer’s Market

Today was unseasonably warm and it must’ve triggered something in me to head downtown to the farmer’s market. I have not been there for awhile and wanted to see what they had for the winter.

Nashville Farmer's Market

The produce section was a bit smaller than in warmer weather but still offered many varieties of fresh produce. Obviously, some was shipped in (strawberries, summer squash, etc) but I tried to go for the seasonal stuff like root veggies and dark greens.

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I got some Kale for morning juice and to saute

Dark leafy greens

Local Winter Greens

Stocked up on local dark honey for baking and cooking. I NEVER want to be without honey in the house

Lots of citrus offerings- I’ve been eating oranges like crazy for Vitamin C to fight off any potential colds/flu. Check out my chicken soup recipe for colds/flu here!

Citrus fruits

I bought some beets, brussel sprouts and garlic. I am roasting the beets to peel and slice and make a beet salad

heirloom carrots, parsnips, red potatoes

I love these heirloom carrots, they are SO sweet!

This is a great time of year to continue eating root vegetables- use them in soups, stews or simply roast them and enjoy the natural sweetness

These potatoes would be great in a soup

What are your favorite winter vegetables?

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Super Easy Winter Fruit Bake

This is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without using any added sugar or even honey. It’s so simple and versatile.  I enjoyed my holiday apple cranberry crisp so much and wanted to clean it up a little by eliminating the butter and sugar. Pears are on sale everywhere right now and I’m eating them like crazy. I like to dice them in salads or slice and spread with almond butter for a snack. In this recipe they add so much sweetness, the sugar is not even missed.

Apples and Pears

Delicious, Fuji and Gala apples and Bartlett pear

Dice 3 apples of your choice. I like to use different varieties to vary the tartness and color. Add 1 pear for more sweetness.  I wash well and leave the peeling on because, as you know, I love the peeling!

Diced apples

Place in baking dish and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon

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Top with fresh whole cranberries and mix lightly together

Cranberry Apple Cinnamon Bake

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until fruit has softened.

Cranberry Apple Pear Bake

One of my favorite ways to eat this is with plain greek yogurt and walnut pieces. I sprinkled my birthday hemp seed on top for some nutty flavor and protein. Great for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Greek Yogurt with Winter Fruit Bake

This morning I warmed it with maple syrup and walnuts and poured over my protein pancakes.

Fruit topped pancakes

This keeps for up to a week in the fridge and could also be a sweet side-dish served warm with chicken or turkey.

Stay Well Chicken Soup

Lots of stuff going around this time of year and I refuse to get sick. If I feel even a little bit rundown I make sure to get extra sleep, drink lots of liquids, and eat more greens and fresh oranges for vitamin C.  My inner jewish mother comes out at times like this and urges me to eat chicken soup and to please have a second helping because I look too thin.

I listened to that voice today and made a big pot of simple chicken stock with lots of garlic and herbs. Nothing fancy, but it’s so good and seems to really work to strengthen my immune system.

In a large pot combine:

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1 half chopped white onion

3 cloves garlic

half a bag of chopped baby carrots

the big lie: they are not really babies.....

the big lie: they are not really babies…..

half a stalk chopped fresh celery

2 bone-in, skin on antibiotic/steroid free chicken breasts

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I always place breasts upside down to absorb more juice.

Cover with water and keep on a low boil for one hour. Remove chicken and let cool. Pull meat off bone, discard skin and return meat to pot.

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Add: 1 tablespoon chicken broth concentrate, ground black pepper, dash of cumin, dash of dried or fresh dill, *sprig of fresh rosemary and red pepper flakes.

*You can use any fresh herbs you have on hand. To me, the more the better: oregano, parsley, thyme, or sage. I removed the rosemary sprig before serving.

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Cover and let simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. I tossed in some israeli couscous near the end just for a little texture. You could also add a small amount of pasta if desired.

Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.  The hot steam will open up sinuses and the vegetable and bone broth will provide nutrients and comfort.

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Eat right away and have more- you look thin!

Maple Baked Lentils with Sweet Potatoes

I am not a vegetarian but I end up eating that way a lot because I love vegetables so much. I also love some of the great recipes on vegetarian and vegan sites. One of my favorites is www.ohsheglows.com.  She has tons of great vegan recipes and I tried this one over the weekend.  It’s simple and filling.  I made mine salt free and  modified the cooking time a bit. Click here for the original recipe.

Cook 2 cups dry lentils until tender but not mushy.  Use a little less than 4 cups of water and they should absorb it all

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Dice 1 sweet onion, 3 cloves garlic, and one sweet potato. I left the peel on because: 1. I’m lazy 2. I like the peel

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Same goes for  1 sweet apple- diced and unpeeled. I used a Gala apple. I buy bags of small apples at Trader Joe’s to use for cooking, baking and smoothies.

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In a LARGE oven proof pot or baking dish combine the lentils and chopped veggies. I had to switch pans twice in order to be able to really blend it all together.

To this mixture I added:

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1 can diced tomatoes including the liquid  (I used salt free)

2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup (the real kind please, not the artificially flavored corn syrup)

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One handed photography while pouring sticky syrup. I can’t believe I’ve never dropped my camera in food.

2 Tablespoons Molasses-

YUM! Such an overlooked natural sweetener that has iron and other nutrients.

2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar, a small dollop of yellow mustard. I did not add salt or pepper.

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Bake covered at 375 for at least 45 minutes, uncovering for last 20 minutes. The original recipe called for a shorter time but I  found that it needed almost an hour for everything to bake tender.

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I served over brown rice. This was good but next time I might add curry, salt, or tumeric (which is my new favorite spice!!) to give it a little more flavor. I also would cut the recipe in half because I have enough of this to feed a vegan army. Luckily, it will freeze well in individual containers for meals on the go.

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Cilantro Ginger Scallops with Broccoli Slaw

When I live near the beach, I will eat seafood every day. I will walk barefoot in the sand along the waters edge to the harbor where the boats come in with their daily catch. I will choose the freshest of the catches and buy it directly from the brawny, bearded fisherman who is proudly holding up his net, heavy with treasure. As the sun sets, I will return to my beach cottage and lovingly prepare my scallops as the fisherman gazes longingly….Ok that went too far. Seriously, I love fresh seafood but for now I am land-locked and must rely on shipped or frozen items.

Sea scallops are larger than bay scallops and, to me, more tender and succulent.  This recipe turned into a light, yet filling, flavorful dish that looks impressive and is super easy to prepare!

First I thawed the frozen scallops in cold water

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I made a marinade starting with chopped garlic and fresh cilantro-

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I added chopped fresh ginger, scallion, sesame oil, splash of white wine vinegar, and fresh lemon and lime juice.

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I sprinkled liberally with cumin and a dash of red pepper flakes

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I let this sit for about an hour as the scallops continued to thaw while soaking up the acidic juices and absorbing the flavors

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After removing from the marinade, I cooked them in a skillet over high heat just until opaque and firm. I like my edges to be a little golden so I made sure there was enough oil in the pan to sear the outsides.

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The slaw was simple. Most produce sections carry Broccoli Slaw already shredded and rinsed so I just tossed it into a pan of sesame oil, garlic and onions.

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I drizzled a little of the marinade in for flavor and threw in some raw cashews after it cooked. I also tossed in some fresh spinach leaves.

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I served scallops on top of stir fried slaw- no need for any condiments or salt. Fancy and light!

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Hot Tea and Lipgloss

I admit I have a problem: It’s not about alcohol or drugs, or cats, or a bad credit score. It’s about my obsession with tea and lipgloss. We all have our sources of comfort, right? Since I quit drinking coffee in October I have become mildly obsessed with teas of all kinds: herbal, medicinal, traditional, floral, flavored, green, you get the idea ….I am enamored with the entire process of boiling a kettle of water, pouring it into a teapot with 1 or 2 different tea bags and waiting patiently for it to steep. There is something meditative and centering about this.

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With coffee, I stood impatiently at the coffeemaker as it dripped slowly and noisily into my waiting cup. It couldn’t come fast enough for me. Tea is like a visit with an old friend;  it starts slow and easy and gently builds into a comforting, familiar experience.

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With coffee, I am agitated, both physically and emotionally.  With tea I am comforted and feel cared for way deep down inside.

Before he died, my dad made this ceramic teapot and I can’t believe I’ve saved it for so long.  There is something almost spiritual about using this to brew my tea everyday.

Lime Green was the hot color of the 70's!

Lime Green was the hot color of the 70’s! It looks like a genie might coil out of here…..

My friend in the natural foods industry has generously shared MANY tea samples with me over time.  I have discovered yerba mate, rooibios, ginseng and masala chai. One of my all time favorites is Gypsy Cold Care. It works better than any over the counter medicine for flu and cold symptoms.

As for the lipgloss- this has been a lifelong love of mine. I can’t seem to stop collecting the delicious, flavored, adorable tubes of gooey stuff. My favorite is Buddha Balm in “Burnt Sugar Fig” It smells and tastes like pancake syrup! SO Yummy! I also love Kiss My Face Sheer Organic Shine- it’s light and minty.

These were in my purse and kitchen drawer, Don't Judge.

These were in my purse and kitchen drawer, Don’t Judge.

The ritual of hot tea is a winter life saver for me- both physically and mentally, in the summer I turn to iced tea brewed in the sun or cold lemon water. The lipgloss is year round!

What things do you use on a daily basis for comfort?

Happy Birthday! (to me)

Today is my birthday! I am not one to make a big deal out of birthdays, I never have been, I prefer a quiet day with maybe just a little something special for myself to celebrate being here on earth for another year. Sometimes it’s a massage or a yoga class or a cupcake. It just depends what I feel like. Today I felt like these:

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I bought these for myself at Trader Joe’s. They really brighten up a dreary, rainy, cold January day.

My friends dropped off a gift bag at my door last night with these treasures!

Coconut oil, hemp protein, hemp seed, organic tea

Coconut oil, hemp protein, hemp seed, organic tea

ALL MY FAVORITE THINGS!!!! I am super excited about the hemp seeds. I’ve been looking to buy some for the last week. They are a great protein source and also high in omega 3’s. I love them!!! I sprinkle on yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies.

My morning started awesome with teaching my first 6:30am yoga class. Yoga is a great way to set the tone for the whole day and there’s nothing like an inversion to get all the blood rushing to your brain to wake you up!

Shirshasana

Random side-note of importance: I have to share this tip if you are ever trying to cut back on sodium like I am. READ labels carefully. I neglected to read the label on my beloved Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper and just found out it has 80mg of sodium!  WHAT???

I feel betrayed!

I feel betrayed!

I’ve been using it liberally on everything thinking I was replacing salt with “Lemon Pepper”. Turns out it’s a “Blend” and apparently has sea salt. Needless to say I was pretty p****d when I found out. All of my hard work seems futile now. Anyway, just be sure to read labels and don’t assume something doesn’t have salt. Most stuff these days does.

Oh and the whole thing about “getting older…..”? I don’t even think about it. I love being my age and it sounds cliche but it’s true; You really are as young or old as you feel. I know 30 year olds who seem 50, and 70 year olds who seem 20.

Take care of your Body, Mind and Spirit and live life at whatever age suits you! 

These abs are (well) over 40! Age is no excuse!!

These abs are over 40- Age is no excuse!

Have a great day! I know I will!

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