Menu Planning {+ Recipe}: A Nourishing and Tasty Lunch Idea

Menu Planning {+ Recipe}: A Nourishing and Tasty Lunch Idea

As most of you probably know already, I have practiced the art of cooking and eating through Macrobiotics, and Ayurveda, to heal myself with food.

Ayurveda literally translates to mean, "the study of life", and is derived from the Indian / Yogic culture, while Macrobiotics translates to mean, "The Big Picture of Life", which is derived from Chinese Medicine, and actually initially derived from Ayurveda.

Ayurveda came first, as did Yoga, when the first inhabitants of the world were learning how to take care of themselves, but once the sages expanded outward towards Asia, new methods of preventing disease were discovered.

The Benefits of Eating From Our Garden! {Recipes and Health Tips Included}

Harvest Bundle I feel so connected to the Source of all things now that I've been learning and tending to our abundant garden!

I feel so in tune with the cycles of life, with the birthing/mothering and flowering of a fruit/veg, the importance of everything starting from a seed, the cultivation process, and directing prana/chi/sunlight energy to what we want to grow or create by pulling weeds and creating that space for life force to flow. I could go on and on, but alas, you cannot beat eating seasonally and locally for the best health and wellbeing benefits!

We are filled with such a sense of deep appreciation when we bring our harvest basket inside! Then it's time to get creative and cook! Here's what we've been up to:

~We have kale and snap peas coming out of our ears right now! (Below is the pic of the bonus kale that started growing out of our compost pile!!! Wahe Guru!)

compost pile

Kale is a bitter veg which is known to detox the liver according to Chinese Medicine and Macrobiotics. It helps reduce inflammation in the body and alkalizes the blood which gives you clear skin (more info on that here) and keeps the immune system strong. It's also very cooling and cleansing according to Ayurveda practices, so it's best to eat lots of it in spring and summer to balance pitta and kapha doshas!

Here's what we do with our Harvest:

~We like to make a Kale / Avocado 'Smash' Salad. In a bowl, throw roughly chopped kale, an avocado, some olive oil, salt and lemon and massage it all together with your hands so it slightly cooks and wilts down. Maybe 3 minutes or so. Your hands will be really slimy after but it tastes so good!!

~Kale Chips. We've made so many different batches by mixing together different combinations in a bowl and then laying them out on a screen to place in our food dehydrator. We like a sesame oil and ginger combo. Or maple syrup, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Or cashew paste (cashews blended with water, onion powder, and salt).

~ Sage Saute. In a pan, we melt ghee and cook the kale in it along with chopped sage. Great Combo!

snap peas

~We've been harvesting radishes and snap peas and making a macrobiotic blanched salad out of it with an ume vinegarette dressing. It's so simple and so yummy, and can be used with any combination of round, root, and leafy vegetables. Blanched salads are recommended to eat once a day in the practice of Macrobiotics because it has an uplifting effect on your health and mood. Radishes are very strong and heating when eaten raw but have a diuretic and detoxing effect when slightly cooked this way. Eaten together with snap peas tastes delightful and is very alkalizing to the blood! Perfect for Summer! *Raw snap peas also make a great vehicle for hummus dipping!*

Bring a pot of water to boil and submerge the snap peas in it until they turn bright green. Take them out with a slotted spoon and let them cool on a plate. Bring the pot to a boil again and drop in the halved radishes and let them cook for about 3 minutes. Finish by drizzling with 1tbs Olive Oil and 1tbs Ume plum vinegar (a macrobiotic favorite) whisked together.

We have tons of romaine which Paul grills with olive oil, a little goat cheese, and balsamic glaze. My FAVE!

zucchini

We have gorgeous zucchinis happening right now too that we saute in ghee and season with fresh dill. Did you know that Dill is beneficial in calming your nervous system, relieving stress and overstimulation and supports your brain, according to ayurveda?

green beans

Hello Green Beans!!! We like to steam them and toss with olive oil and fresh thyme.

borage flower

Borage is taking over our garden!!! It is an amazing edible flower  that we throw on our salads and also juice along with kale, cucumber, mint and lemon for a cooling drink. The health benefits are endless. Among them are that they reduce fear and encourage you to speak your truth! Pretty cool, huh?! Not to mention that they enhance the garden in so many ways!

It's so wonderful to be eating straight from the garden because it ignites some creativity in the kitch so you can be intuitive with the gifts of nature and in harmony in life! It also helps to appreciate food so much more wherever you go out to eat, and encourages you to always source local, fresh food for the best health benefits! I do believe that everything starts with food!

Stay tuned for more harvesting and creating! And be sure to sign up on my mailing list to receive notification for when we have a farm stand and farm to table dinner parties! :)

*Photo Cred (except the first pic) to the handsome and talented boyfriend of mine* <3

KATE-SIGNATURE

LifeStyle Lessons: My Mini Detox {+ Recipe}

Macro Mild Fish SoupEven though I just blogged yesterday about how I've come out of my Macro rabbit hole, I still give credit where it's due. Macrobiotics is a healing diet, of which I learned so many healing recipes and practices that I can always come back to in times of need. After the long holiday weekend, I was happy to get organized and do a little self care this week! From many cleanses that I've done, I know that the best way to feel lighter is to eliminate the sugar, the nuts, the snacking, the cracked/puffed grains and to replace meals with liquid ~ ie: smoothies/juices and soups.

For the next 3-5 days, I am eating kitchari for lunch, and fish soup for dinner, with some juicing thrown in the mix to root and to cool me down. I'm taking my other self care tips and getting to sleep early, doing oil massages, walking, yoga and meditation daily to reconnect.

fish soup ingredientsI thought you might like to know about this Macro healing fish soup recipe. The shiitake mushrooms give my immune system a boost, while also pulling out water retention. The leeks, napa cabbage, and bok choy scrub away the toxins and release inflammation. The white fish is 'yang', which means it pulls the energy down to avoid any excess 'yin' from sugar, as do the carrots.

Eating this soup between 5:30-7pm is the optimum time so my body can properly cleanse when I go to bed at 10. It's light on the digestion and really yummy and beautiful too!

napa cabbage, bok choy

Try it out:

Ingredients:

1inch piece kombu (dried seaweed found in the asian food aisle)

2 dried shiitake mushrooms (also found in the asian aisle)

4C water

1 onion, sliced half moons

1 carrot, thin half diagonals

1C napa, thin diagonals

1C bok choy, sliced thin

1/2C leek, medium diagonals

1lb fresh white fish - wild caught** (cod, flounder, red snapper etc...) 1inch pieces

Tamari to taste

Garnish with scallions, and lemon

Directions:

Place kombu, shiitakes, and fresh water in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the onion and carrot and return to a boil to simmer for 5 min. Add napa, bok choy, leek and then fish and simmer for 3-5 min. Add (capful) tamari and simmer 5 more minutes. Garnish and Enjoy!

KATE-SIGNATURE

Food Fave! Macro Vegetarian Prepared Foods!

Macro VegetarianProbably my all time fave lunch on the go! Thank God for this amazing company that makes healthy macrobiotic vegan prepared foods! I have found them in all the local natural food stores and Whole Foods here in the Massachusetts area. The company is based out of New York, so I'm assuming they're covering most of the northeast! macro vegetarianAny and all of their goods are amazing, totally satisfying, and yummy for a meal on the run! Whenever I don't have time to prepare my lunch, these are my go-to's that I can count on for bringing to work! While they may not be gluten free,  they are filled with nutrients and love so they are easily assimilated and digested!<3

macro vegetarianAs much as I love Whole Foods, I don't always love their hot food bar or salad bars, so I choose these instead! You can find them in the refrigerated prepared foods section. Make sure you get these for dessert! ;)

Enjoy!

KATE-SIGNATURE

 

Food Fave!: Mochi ~ it melts!

mochi crutonsFor the love of Mochi!! There are so many ways to eat it and all of them are super satisfying! Mochi is a sweet brown rice that's been steamed and pounded into a block. It's kept in the refrigerated aisle of your natural food store and is a Macrobiotic staple originating from Japan.

Here are my favorite ways to eat it:

As little cubed 'crutons' in soups made by frying it up with a little oil for a few minutes on each side til it puffs up like this:

mochi crutons

 

Or as a savory breakfast eaten as a mochi roll up. I cut thin rectangle slivers and place in a steamer basket inside a cabbage leaf filled with grated carrots, pumpkin seeds and a few drops of tamari. It melts and becomes gooey and cheese like inside!:)  *You can basically steam any vegetable with sliced mochi on top to make it like a 'melt'.

Mochi Roll upsI also like to roast little squares that puff up funny in the oven for a few minutes, or on a saute pan. I drizzle with maple syrup and it's like a little pancake!:)

Try it and play around with your own concoctions! It's playful, yummy food and comes in lots of different flavors!

Enjoy

KATE-SIGNATURE

 

A 10 day sample menu from my kitchen to yours!

beans and grains When I first started working with my Macrobiotic Counselor, Warren Kramer, a few years ago, I was completely in over my head as to how I would make all the magic happen! The planning and the prepping was non stop! I'd often feel that I was constantly behind the stove, but couldn't get out! I was hooked, but bound and determined to master the practice! While I've since backed off a little and have found my own way with balance, I thank Macrobiotics for teaching me how to cook, and for allowing me to find a groove in the kitch, but it definitely came with some breakdowns along the way!

According to Macrobiotics, It takes 10 days to clean the blood and eliminate the extreme energies of yin (expansive) and yang (contractive) within the body. What follows, is a state of balance, peace and harmony so that you feel vibrant, centered, alive and well!

Luckily I had the help of my personal Macrobiotic Chef, Karen Daisa, in L.A. who designed 10 day menu plans for me, so I had some what of a road map without being completely overwhelmed! So, I thought it would be nice to do one for you here!

Last year, I had lots of free time to play, create, cook and eat while taking a break from my job, so I documented a 10 day streak for you to take a peak into. It may seem a little exhaustive, but at least you can gain some inspiration from it!:)

Just so you know, I had LOTS of leftovers in the fridge as I was only cooking for myself. You'll have to adjust accordingly to who you're cooking for, but at least you get the gist of how to plan and play!

Within these 10 days you can always come back to center through whole foods: grains, beans and vegetables. Here's what my 10 day plan looked like, based off of Macrobiotic and Ayurvedic Recipes:

amaranth porridge

Day 1:

Breakfast: Amaranth porridge. (one of my fave's!)

Bring ½ C amaranth to a boil with 1C water. Add pinch of salt, cover and reduce to simmer for 12 minutes. Then, add a handful of chopped walnuts, handful of blueberries, a handful of chopped dried apricots , 3 shakes of cinnamon and a drop of stevia. Stir to combine and enjoy.

Lunch: Quinoa salad

Blanch veggies: Bring small saucepan of water to a boil and add 1/2C sliced collard greens and watch til they turn bright green (about 30 seconds) and remove with slotted spoon to cool on a plate. Bring pan back to boil and add 1/2C frozen organic corn kernels for about 1 minute, then remove the same way. Bring back to boil and add 1/2C half moon sliced radish for about 2 minutes then remove the same way. Bring water back to boil and add 1/4C diced carrot for 2 minutes then remove and cool. Add all vegetables to 1C cooked quinoa in a large bowl with a handful of pumpkin seeds, 1 sliced scallion, 1/4C half moon sliced cucumber and squeeze of one lemon to dress. Mix and enjoy.

Dinner: Millet Sweet Vegetable Soup w/ Miso (Miso good for you!)

In a soup pot: layer 1/4C each of onion, cabbage, sweet potato and carrot in that order. Top with 1/2C rinsed millet and a piece of dried shiitake and wakame. Add water to your desired soup consistency liking (4-6C) and bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes. Dilute 2 teaspoons miso paste in broth then add to soup and simmer for additional 5 minutes. Top with sliced scallion or parsley and enjoy.

*Store extra for next day*

Day 2:

Breakfast: Quinoa porridge.

Bring 1/2C quinoa with 1C water to a boil, then add pinch of salt, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cinnamon, ground ginger and stevia, stir and enjoy.

Lunch: Leftover  Millet soup with added blanched salad

Blanch Veggies: Bring small saucepan of water to a boil and add a handful of sliced collard greens for 30 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon and let cool on plate. Bring water back to boil and add handful of broccoli (1-2 minutes) and remove the same way. Bring water back to boil and add handful of quartered radishes for 2 minutes and remove. Toss together with lemon and pumpkin seeds and enjoy with re-heated soup (on the stove top).

Dinner: Kitchari

In Soup pot, saute 3TBS coconut oil or Ghee on medium low heat with 1tsp cumin, 1tsp turmeric, 1tsp coriander, and 1inch diced ginger root. Add 1C brown basmati rice, 1C pre-soaked mung beans and 1C chopped vegetables of your liking (I used sliced leeks) and saute for a few minutes before adding 5-6C water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Add 1/2tsp of salt and stir to combine. Simmer 10 minutes more. Garnish with sliced parsley or cilantro, 1tsp coconut oil, 1TBS coconut flakes and squeeze of lemon or lime. *Store extra for next day* (Makes 4 servings)

Day 3:

Breakfast: Leftover Millet and sweet vegetable soup with miso (Reheated as a porridge)

Lunch: Leftover Kitchari with steamed greens added (Place ¼ in water in small sauce pan and cover. Bring to boil and add sliced collard greens for 1 minute. Remove with slotted spoon and dress with sesame seeds and lemon juice.)

Dinner: Amaranth and Nishime (super healing Macro dish!)

Nishime: Place 1/4in. water in medium size sauce pan with postage sized piece of kombu or wakame. Layer 1/2C each of coarsely chopped vegetables in this order: brussel sprouts, turnip and carrot. Cover with lid and bring to boil over medium hight heat (you will know when steam is coming out the sides of lid—about 5 minutes). Lower flame to medium low and allow vegetables to cook on a long, slow steam for 25 minutes. Then add 1TBS tamari. Cover again and shake pan to distribute the seasoning. Simmer 5 minutes more. Turn off heat and let sit for about 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook amaranth in a 2:1 ratio water to grain, adding a pinch of salt once it reaches a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Garnish with shiso powder. Enjoy. *Store extra amaranth and nishime for next day*

Day 4:

Breakfast: Leftover quinoa porridge

Place leftover quinoa in saucepan with equal parts water. Add handful of raisins and scants of cinnamon. Stir, cover and bring to a boil, then let simmer 10 minutes.

Lunch: Leftover Nishime and Amaranth

Dinner: Brown rice and Lentil Vegetable Stew

Bring 1C rice to 2C water to a boil. Add pinch of salt, cover and simmer for 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a soup pot, layer 1/4C each of diced onion, cabbage, sweet potato and parsnip in that order. Add 1/2C lentils on top with just enough water to cover and bring to boil. Let simmer about 30 minutes til tender. Season with 1TBS coconut oil and 1/4tsp each turmeric, coriander, cumin and cinnamon, stirring to combine. Add handful of chopped collard greens and re-cover to simmer for an extra 5 minutes. Serve stew over rice. Enjoy.*Store extra rice and stew*

Day 5:

Breakfast: Amaranth porridge

1/2C amaranth with 1C water, combined and brought to a boil. Add pinch of salt, cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Add handful of chopped dried apricots, handful chopped almonds, handful blueberries, TBS raw cacao and taste of stevia. Combine and enjoy.

Lunch: Leftover Stew

Dinner: Noodles in Broth

Bring 5C water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add gluten free, brown rice noodles to cook til al dente. Meanwhile, bring 2C water to a boil in a small saucepan with 1 dried shiitake and a postage sized piece of kombu. Add pinch of salt and handful of chopped broccoli and handful half moon sliced onions. Cover and reduce to simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1TBS tamari and simmer 4 min more. Once noodles are cooked, drain and rinse with cool water. Place in bowl and cover with broth. You may slice shiitake and kombu at this time and add to bowl. Garnish with sliced scallion or parsley and ginger juice (grate ginger and squeeze juice out of it). Enjoy*Store extra noodles for next day*

Day 6:

Breakfast: Steel Cut Oats

Bring ½C oats to a boil with 1 1/2C water, add pinch of salt, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add 1/3 diced apple, handful raisins, scant of cinnamon, taste of stevia and handful chopped pecans. Stir to combine and enjoy.

Lunch: Noodle Stir Fry

In sauté pan, Saute 1/4C each of sliced mushrooms, half moon sliced onion, corn kernels, diced cabbage in 1TBS coconut oil for about 5 minutes. Place leftover noodles on top and add 1-2TBS tamari to season with about 3TBS water. Saute another 4 minutes til water is absorbed. Garnish with scallion. Enjoy.

Dinner: Ate out--Mexican food

Day 7:

Breakfast: Stewed apples and pears

Slice one apple and one pear and bring to boil with just enough water to cover. Add handful raisins and 1tsp cinnamon, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour in bowl and drink/eat.

Lunch: Brown Basmati rice with blanched vegetables

Bring 1C brown rice to 2C water to boil. Add pinch of salt, cover and simmer for 50 minutes.

Blanched Vegg: Meanwhile, bring small saucepan of water to boil and add handful sliced collard greens for 30 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon and let cool on plate. Bring water back to boil and add handful of radishes—quartered, for 2 minutes. Remove same way and toss both vegetables together with squeeze of lemon. Enjoy simple lunch of rice and vegetables.

Dinner: Leek Soup

1/2C each sliced leek, diced sweet potato, sliced collards, diced zucchini brought to a boil with just enough water to cover. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Puree in blender and garnish with lemon and sliced watercress or parsley.

Day 8:

No Breakfast. Fasted. (Received hydrocolonic.

Lunch (early @ 11am): Leftover brown rice with green salad

Bring 1/4inch water to boil with lid on. Add 2C sliced collard greens and steam for 1 minute (covered). Remove and add 1TBS tahini mixing until well dressed. Add handful of pumpkin seeds and enjoy.

Dinner: Split pea lentil and quinoa soup

In a soup pot, add 1C chopped vegetables of your choice. Add 1/4C quinoa and 14C lentil on top. Add water to cover (4-6C) and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 35 minutes. Season with 1TBS tamari and simmer 4 more minutes. Garnish with parsley or scallion and enjoy.*Store extra for next day*

Day 9:

Breakfast: Amaranth porridge

Bring 1/2C amaranth with 1C water to boil. Add pinch of salt, cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Add 1TBS raw cacao, handful of chopped walnuts, handful of chopped apricot/raisin, handful of blueberries and taste of stevia. Combine and enjoy.

Lunch: Leftover Soup with Blanched Salad

Bring small saucepan of water to a boil and add handful of sliced collard greens til they turn bright (30seconds). Remove with slotted spoon and let cool on plate. Bring water back to boil and add handful halved brussel sprouts for about 1-2 minutes. Remove same way and bring back to boil. Add handful diced carrots for 2 minutes and remove same way. Dress with lemon juice and handful of sunflower seeds (unsalted).

Dinner: Eat Out (Mediterranean food)

Day 10:

Breakfast: Leftover stew with pumpkin seed garnish

Lunch: Grain salad

Bring 1/2C millet with 1C water to boil. Add pinch of salt. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, Bring 1/4inch water to boil with cover on. Add handful of chopped sweet potato, handful chopped carrot and handful sliced brussel sprouts to steam for 10 minutes on medium flame. Combine vegetables with millet and dress with lemon juice, coconut oil and 1/4tsp turmeric, 1/4tsp cumin.

Dinner: Kitchari

In soup pot, saute 3 TBS coconut oil or Ghee with 1/2tsp cumin, 1/2tsp turmeric, 1/2tsp coriander, 1/2tsp fennel and one inch diced ginger root over medium heat. Add 1C brown basmati rice, 1C pre-soaked mung bean and 1C chopped kale to saute for a few minutes. Add 5C water and bring to a boil then cover and place on simmer for 30-45 minutes. Garnish with lime squeeze, coconut flakes, 1TBS coconut oil and cilantro. Enjoy.

Ta-Da!!! Hope you have fun!

KATE-SIGNATURE

Clear Skin, Finally!

aloe vera gel This post is for anyone who can relate to the challenges of achieving clear skin!

I went through the dreaded 'awkward' stage for longer than normal in high school, struggling with frizzy, curly hair as most of you know by now from my curly cures post, but also coupled with acne--whoa is me!! I couldn't help but compare myself to all my beautiful, thin, clear skinned friends. Why did I have to deal with this 'misfortune', is all I could think about...talk about high school insecurities!

My mom did her best to try and help me. She took me to see a dermatologist who prescribed me Retin-A, and when that didn't work well enough, tried to promote Accutane. Retin-A only left my skin red, dry and flaky, and luckily enough, my mom opted out on the Accutane recommendation due to the possibility of birth defects as a side effect.

It wasn't until I went on Birth Control at age 17 that my skin finally cleared up. Even though it balances the hormones and keeps the flare ups at bay, I've now learned that t's actually a vicious cycle because birth control creates an imbalance of healthy flora within the gut. This eventually leads to bad skin in the end because your skin is a reflection of your digestive system. There's more where that came from in this post, if you want to learn more.

Needless to say, I went off birth control at age 25 and wouldn't you know, the pimples came back to rear their ugly head! Who wants to deal with acne in their 20's?! I mean, come on, I've already dealt with this!

At that time, I had already begun living a clean and holistic lifestyle after having read Kevin Trudeau's book, "Natural Cures". This was the start of my 'cleaning house' journey, but there were many pit stops along the way before finally attaining the skin I'd always dreamed of! Granted, I still have to keep it in check, but it's amazing how your skin reflects back at you what's going on inside, and all we have to do is read the signs!

My skin finally cleared up for good after committing to a healing Macrobiotic diet of cooking for myself, eating clean foods free of dairy and sugar, and some extra tips along the way.

Here are my simple recommendations:

1. Drink Kukicha Tea everyday! It is a miraculous little Macro Secret for clearing skin! You can use it as a toner, directly on the skin, but when taken internally, it's alkalizing, anti-inflammatory agents really get the job done!

2. Drink Aloe Vera Gel daily.  O.M.G., if only I had known about this sooner! I drink 2TBS with water at breakfast and lunch. Lily of the Desert Brand is the best--the gel, not the juice!!! Flushing out your toxins with ease, by drinking this every day won't leave any room for flare ups!

3. Eat your greens daily!! Greens (kale, collards, napa cabbage, dandelion, mustard greens, etc.) reduce inflammation and alkalize the body.

The key to keeping your skin clear is all about maintaing an alkaline diet and removing toxins from your digestive tract.

Keep in mind that you may have a break-out while you're detoxing, but just keep flushing it out by drinking water and eating fiber rich foods! Your skin will be glowing in no time!

Glow on, beautiful!

Lots of love,

Kate

Chestnut Cream Pie Anyone?

Thanksgiving is such a special time of the year! I love the holidays, with all the joy and celebration it brings, reminding us of what's truly important in our lives. For me, it's family, friends, my health, spiritual wisdom, and the inspiration that brings me ultimate fulfillment and happiness. This year I get to celebrate it with my friend and mentor, Karen.  She's a Macrobiotic Chef here in LA, who I've had the pleasure of working privately with, to learn how to cook delicious whole food meals, and live a healthy lifestyle! She's graciously invited me to her home to have a proper 'Macro' Thanksgiving dinner, which is very appropriate!

This Thanksgiving marks my fourth year without turkey, which resulted in me having to  actively participate in the grand cooking process of this day. If I'm not eating the turkey, I have to 'step up to the plate' and create something that I'll actually enjoy, right?

The first two years, I took a Vegan Thanksgiving Cooking Class with the Spork Food Sisters in LA to really up my game, and last year relied on Alicia Silverstone's book, 'The Kind Life' for a menu. See post from last year for my inspiration and menu plan:): http://gowiththeglow.net/2012/11/20/turkey-shmurkey/

Tofu Thanksgiving This year I actually get to show up to an already edible Thanksgiving Table! How lucky am I?! But the pressure is kind of on as to what I'll be making, wouldn't ya say?!

I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks, that I often forget about called, 'The Self - Healing Cookbook' by Kristina Turner. I've decided to make one of her holiday pies. I couldn't decide between the Squash Pie or the Chestnut Cream Pie, but ultimately decided to go with the latter--more of a challenge and a little more unique!

Chestnut Cream Pie**

Ingredients:

1C chestnuts

1C water

2C amasake

1/4C almonds, ground

1tsp vanilla

1tsp cinnamon

pinch allspice

2T agar agar flakes

Directions:

Grind almonds fine in the blender. Add amasake, chestnuts, vanilla and spices, and puree until creamy. Heat agar agar with 1/4C water until throughly dissolved--about 5min. Stir in the chestnut cream. Pour into a pre--baked pie crust. Let cool and set for an hour in the fridge before serving.

Today, I'm off to buy packaged pre-steamed chestnuts from Trader Joe's and amasake from Whole Foods (ran out of my bulk order), a fermented sweet brown rice drink as the main macro sweetening ingredients for the dish. I'll have you know, I'm also attempting my very own gluten free pie crust too, which includes oats and brown rice flour!

amasake

My day of Thanks will include a special prayer for all that I'm grateful for in my life--all that I have and all that I do not have. I will pour all my love into my pie, to show my gratitude for Karen's friendship and mentoring, and will enjoy one of my most favorite things--eating healthy food--being grateful for all it's abundance and all the knowledge I have for understanding how to nourish my body properly! Then, last but not least, I will honor my tradition of watching one of my all time favorite childhood movies, "Home Alone". Sounds like a pretty perfect day to me!

I hope you do all the things that you love on this day! Be grateful to yourself for taking time to do what you need to do to care for you, so that you can then be your best self, and in turn, serve others, so they can be grateful for you too!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Much love,

Kate

Satisfy your sweet tooth the right way.

i dream of belgian waffles. each individual square slathered in earth balance vegan butter swimming in a little pool of maple syrup! does it get much better than that?? well, yes if you get really indulgent and add whipped cream or berries on top! or for that matter, you can choose to have ice cream on top at some restaurants. orrrr the latest crazy combo craze of fried chicken and waffles.

clearly, these little fluffy, crispy, sweet, doughy treats are the perfect vehicle for shoveling whatever you'd like into your mouth!

the weekends are for relaxing and treating yourself, are they not?

all the dedication and discipline i exert into my healthy lifestyle still deserves a satisfying treat every now and then! which is why i LOVED my santa monica vegan restaurants...sadly i have not found a restaurant here on cape cod that can accommodate my out of the ordinary 'fun' meals.

i used to look forward to Real Food Daily's waffle option on their sunday brunch menu, so i've decided to re-create it in my own kitchen! luckily, my dear friend and macrobiotic cooking instructor, karen garvey daisa in L.A. put together a series of recipes that she knew i'd enjoy! she knows i love my 'fun' food but i can't get too crazy because as alicia silverstone points out in her book, "balance begets balance, and crazy begets crazy".

words of wisdom to life by, i'll say. i have witnessed myself, a time or two, in a deep binge of sugar and flour, thinking oh my gosh, she's out of control, and there's no stopping her! its as if i were having an out of body experience...dramatic i know, but humorous to observe!

sugar, flour and alcohol make you 'high' and lead to cravings of more and more stimulating food.

this is that delicate balance of yin and yang that we talk about in macrobiotics. to bring yourself back to a grounded state of clear, conscious choices, sit down to a cup of kukicha tea or a whole grain meal with vegetables...you will be back to reality in no time.

but whoa, watch out for those 'benders'.

my point is, that if you can't get some play into your diet, you will give up on your healthy intentions, because variety is the spice of life, am i right?

needless to say, this morning's task to satisfy some cravings was a success!

i whipped up some quinoa flour, corn meal, rolled oats, almond milk, brown rice syrup, flax seeds, baking soda, baking powder, and water in a blender.

i heated up a skillet with coconut oil and pan fried my little macro batter into pancakes (the next best thing to waffles). they were a little runny, so it took a few tries to get a perfect looking pancake.

i admit, i had one perfect one in a stack of 6...the last one ended up in little blobs as i tried to get fancy and flip the pan without using the spatula...

it landed all down my clothes and onto my bare feet, but ya know what, sometimes i'm a little gross and i saved those little suckers and put them on the plate, justifying the 3 second rule...

the mess in the kitchen and the not so pretty looking pancakes tasted scrumpdidliumptious!!!

i spread on my vegan butter and maple syrup and got my fix! of course it was accompanied by a side of steamed kale and kukicha tea.

what do you salivate for on sundays??

Clear up your skin conditions naturally with this remedy.

kukicha! no, i did not sneeze, but thank you! i'm talking about a twig tea from japan. it's something i drink everyday and has improved my digestion and skin miraculously! kukicha tea is naturally alkalizing, and acts as an astringent for your insides.

you can also use it as an exterior astringent, directly on your face as well! i used to boil a cup weekly, and keep it in a covered jar in the fridge to use as a toner morning and night while weaning myself off acne medication.

i struggled with acne in high school and the only thing that cleared up my skin was the birth control pill (a whole other reason my digestion was out of whack...i will talk more on that later). once i went off it, my skin flared up again. i tried to be patient and use all natural ingredients, etc., but there's really nothing worse than not feeling confident without makeup to hide your pimples. after all, i was 27 years old - come on, i'm over this already!

whatever is going on with your skin is a direct result of what's going on with your digestive process.

whether you have a rash, dry skin, pimples, etc., most likely there is an imbalance of bacterial flora in your stomach.

the best way to decrease the unhealthy bacteria is to limit your sugars - which come in the form of certain fruits, flours, alcohol, and the obvious forms...

you want to create an alkaline environment inside  to re-establish new healthy growing bacteria!

kukicha tea is the simplest way to do that!

my skin cleared up in about a month after drinking it daily, and using it as a toner. it also evens out skin tone, and helped clear up my dry scalp...try this little gem of a beauty secret!

An easy, healthy daily menu

here's a little taste of what i was up to in the kitchen today, so you can see just how easy it is to eat natural foods! my morning began with a little miso soup, leftover millet porridge and blanched collard greens.

this is a very traditional  macro breakfast - don't knock it til you try it.

miso paste is a medicinal food used to support healthy bacterial flora in your stomach.

it aids in digestion and acts like yogurt would to dairy eaters. it should be taken 4x/week to get your stomach functioning optimally! it's super easy to make too - all that is needed is wakame, scallions and miso paste.

the porridge can be made fresh or you can use whatever leftover grain you may have in the fridge, heated up in a saucepan with some water to soften the grain.

this starts your healthy digestion for the day so your stomach doesn't have to work so hard at breaking down the food.

the blanched veggie is simply placed in boiling water for a about a minute then taken out and can be eaten plain or with a little lemon juice. what a way to start the day, eh?!

for lunch i used up the leftover udon noodles (whole wheat) that i had in the fridge from the other night.

i sauteed some snow peas, mushrooms and sliced cabbage in a little sesame oil then placed the noodles on top, added a few drops of water to the skillet with some drops of tamari and tossed it all together over med-high heat for a few minutes, garnished with some sunflower seeds, and voila - lunch was served in about 5 minutes. and it was very satisfying!

tonight's dinner was leftover beans (my protein) and veg from last night with freshly made pressure cooked brown rice/sweet rice combo with chestnuts - super sweet and delish!

i steamed a little kale to round it out. i should mention that my rice was soaked in fresh water for a few hours prior to boiling, to alkalize the grain.

just to get you inspired even more, i made a yummy snack for my friends/family just because...

peanut butter/chocolate chip rice crispy treats! the recipe is from alicia silverstone's book, the kind diet. it is a decadent, chewy, gooey peanut buttery delight in your mouth! it takes about 5 minutes to put together and is a perfect healthy snack alternative to keep in the fridge! please indulge!

what did you make today? and how can you fine tune/substitute your choices? are you still moving in the direction of your health intentions? i'd gladly make suggestions if you have questions!

in good health til next time,

The basic structure of your diet + a dressing recipe

what an amazing cooking class/lecture i had the pleasure of experiencing this weekend! my macrobiotic counselor hosted a 'fresh start program" outside of boston, in newton on saturday. he is truly amazing on all levels - spiritually and intuitively attuned to living a life that is whole and complete. if you ever get the chance to catch him in boston or on the road, i highly suggest it - you will feel inspired and centered in no time! check out his website @ www.macrobioticsofnewengland.com.

it's easy to lose your direction in regards to health and the best way to re-establish your intentions for yourself is through food.

i'm a firm believer in the eastern world's approach  of preventative health care. yes, there's a place for western medicine as well, but the cleaner we are, the more sensitive/intuitive our bodies become - speaking to us about what works and doesn't almost immediately.

my friends and family think it's crazy that if i have a few carob chips, or salsa or tomato sauce (anything acidic), i will end up with a blood blister on the inside of my cheek - just like that.

it freaked me out at first, but when i figured out what triggered it and why, i now am so grateful for my bodily functions to alert me of what it doesn't like. i still have the free will to eat it and understand what the ramifications will be, but the fact that my body can discharge/detox that fast is truly a blessing.

if it didn't happen that way, it would happen down the road, manifesting in other ways in the forms of tumors, disease, etc.

bottom line, being a clean, mean machine is pretty awesome!

with that being said, it is so important to be satisfied with our daily meals, so that we don't feel the need to eat things that don't serve us.

we need to stay on that road and realize that the things that don't work for us need to be let go.

we are re creating a healthy environment as we head down this road, and the things we used to do or eat, may not fit into that mold, and we have to be okay with it and embrace the new.

it's a challenge, to say the least, but it helps to have a structure within that journey.

the key ways in keeping that essence alive is by sitting down to at least one whole grain meal per day.

grains attract vegetable dishes, and the more we eat healthfully, the more we crave it, in turn decreasing our desire for sweets, flours, etc.

another way is to sit down to a satisfying bean dish a few times per week.

as long as it's cooked correctly, it will not give you gas. it will help improve liver function, creating younger looking skin, and will lower cholesterol.

the structure of my meals are based around whole grains, vegetables and beans.

it's meatless monday today so maybe you can try a meat free dinner tonight?

i'll be making brown rice, pinto beans with carrots and onions, and a vegetable dish.

remember to make enough for leftovers for your lunch tomorrow!

i always have some on hand and can whip up a quick dish - today i reheated last nights soup and added a light salad with a yummy sesame seed dressing!

dressings make everything more fun!

here's the recipe:

1/2 c. water

1/3 c. sesame seeds

1 tbs brown rice vinegar

1 tbs shoyu

3 tbs chopped scallions

1 tbs lemon juice

i'll let you know what i do with tomorrow's leftovers.

hope to have inspired you in sticking to your intentions of taking care of yourself through food and a good mental attitude, to respect your body and inner voice of your soul!

Eat your meals according to the sun.

as i'm learning more and more about macrobiotics, i'm loving how the philosophy makes so much sense when considering spirituality and planetary influences! it's all about energy.

planetary forces, moon cycles, tides, seasons changing, etc. so it only makes sense when approaching eating your food. food is medicine -nutritionally speaking and energetically.

macrobiotics really focuses on the energetics of it, which is obvious in the variety of foods eaten and the different cooking styles.

there is a reason behind chewing your food well, cooking certain ways, sitting down to eat, and changing how and what you consume as the seasons change. when it comes to mealtime, it should be aligned with the 24 hour period of the day - which revolves around the sun/moon! man, i love this!!

when the sun rises, it sheds it's light on the earth, allowing us all to be fed. that's why the hours between 6-8 is the best time to eat breakfast and align with this rising, burst of energy for your day! during the hours of 11-1, the sun is high in the sky, so the earlier you eat your lunch, the more energy you will have for the rest of the day because you are still working with that rising energy. by contrast, the later you eat, the more stagnant you'll feel because you are aligning with the descent of the sun settling on the earth.  you can choose to work with the last bit of it rising or the beginning of it settling to dictate how you'll want to feel - whether you need active energy or a more grounded energy...fast forward to dinner, which should be eaten during the hours of sunset - typically 6-8, give or take. this point in the day is when the earth is commencing. this is what we should be aligning with - bringing family together, and personal connectedness. taking a break to do this is so important for the body and soul to be fed. we can break away after dinner and go about the rest of the night, but that settling and gathering affect is nature's way of allowing us to properly align our energies so that everything ebbs and flows smoothly.

eating regularly is so important for our bodies to regulate blood sugar levels, digestion and emotions. think about how natural it is for our bodies to be aligned with the sun's energy...i used to be hungry 1-2 hours after eating, and once i started regulating my meal times, i've become much more satisfied on all levels. try it for awhile and see how you feel!

in good health!

The benefits of chewing

chewing. what a concept! who knew it was so important? our modern day society is so fast paced that we don't even stop to enjoy our food. us americans are the worst! when i was traveling in spain last year, i was embarrassed to see that i was the only one with 'take-away' food and drink containers...nobody in europe eats on the run like americans do! nevertheless, chewing has taken a back seat in our modern world. and it's time to understand why it is so important to chew! as i'm learning more and more about macrobiotics, i've been introduced to a wonderfully written book called, "the good life", by denny waxman, which explains the reasons behind why it's so important to follow a format.

chewing is at the core. each bite should be chewed a minimum of 30 times. 50 is better. and 100 is the best!

the best way to encourage the daunting task is by setting your utensil down after each bite and placing your hands in your lap! that's right. just try it and you will be amazed at what it's like to actually enjoy your food - the tastes, the textures, the life force, the quality, the love that was poured into the cooking style, etc.the sheer aspect of connecting with our food is so beautiful, and essential.

not only does it allow you to tune in to what you are doing, the act of chewing secretes our natural digestive enzymes through our saliva, allowing us to digest our food properly.

hello! there's a reason why we have teeth - we're not supposed to inhale!

by taking the time to chew our meals, we naturally slow down to properly prepare our bodies for nourishment.

it is so important in this diet to SIT down while eating, without being connected to your phone, your t.v., your computer for a minimum of 15-20 minutes.

if you chew your food well, it will take you 15 minutes to finish, and that alone relaxes your body so the digestive process can work optimally. if your rushing, standing, driving, walking, doing a million things while you're eating and shoveling the food down your throat, you are doing your body a dis-service. you may find that you feel bloated or gassy after a meal, and if that's the case, just make this one adjustment and you will see results within 4 days!

our modern world is already making us tense, and by adding our unhealthy eating habits into the mix our insides are becoming tight as well. so treat yourself to 60 minutes out of your whole day to just soothe and relax your insides. your body will thank you for it, as you will feel lighter, clearer and overall more calm, centered and peaceful.

give it a go! chew a minimum of 30 times per bite for 4 days. it's challenging, but you can do it!

How to become less tense.

by definition, macrobiotics means: 'the big picture of life'. there is a yin and a yang to this equation. yang being the contractive force and yin being the expansive energy. finding that balance in life, is what we hope to achieve, right? well, i took advantage of having a private macrobiotic counseling session with warren kramer of macrobiotics new england, and am so glad i did! he was able to analyze my health and make recommendations for my lifestyle. what i found out, was that i was too yang. i like to think of myself as an easy-going, happy- go-lucky person, but he pointed out all the ways that i was too tight inside. our goal for me is to start becoming more yin.

i am so excited about this new approach! dr.'s orders=relaxing? sign me up!!

my prescription calls for variation.

eating lots of steamed, blanched veggies, mild sweets, vegetable teas and creamy soups all while sitting down without any distraction, chewing well, and eating my meals at the same time everyday.

he also suggested that i walk 30 minutes everyday, take showers at night to relax, and put a green plant in my bedroom.

these small changes will lead to big results! i can't wait to embark on this journey!

first things first, make a grocery list and start preparing my meals the night before.

i also have to limit eating out to 3 times per week.

eating out too often, even if it is a healthy restaurant, contributes to being yang, because too much salt is incorporated in their cooking.

i also have to steer clear of anything hard and dry, burnt, baked, roasted, cold, carbonated or an imitation dairy product.

think i have what it takes? i do.

wish me luck!

Detox with this drink!

so, we all over-indulge every now and then, right? well, i definitely did at a cookie christmas party this weekend! i did my best, and brought my healthy, vegan, gluten-free treats, that were a hit! BUT, there were also vegan chocolate chip cookies staring at me, taunting me...these little guys had sugar and flour in them - something i try to avoid, but i gave into the temptation and enjoyed every minute of indulging! after all, it is the holidays, and it is natural to give into the expansive energy of celebrating. our lives are a constant balancing act, so with all that 'yin'(expansive food) energy going on inside, i needed to bring a little 'yang'(contractive) action back.

i do this with my tried and true, de-sludger drink, aka carrot daikon drink.

it is a popular macrobiotic drink for detoxifying. i drink it as necessary, but i also try and do mini cleanses with the change of seasons, so at these times, i may drink it 3-5 times a week, or if i'm trying to lost a few lbs, i'll drink it for 10 days straight, and then 3 times a week for 3 weeks. *you don't want to repeat that 10 day period for another three months because it can become too de-mineralizing though, so beware!* this drink consists of carrot and daikon radish - both root vegetables (a grounding food). daikon is a popular vegetable used in traditional asian cuisine because it aids in digestion and assists the liver with cleansing and relaxing, which can help with weight loss. you can saute it or eat it raw - often times i use it in a stir fry or my miso soup. it looks like a big white carrot. it is very medicinal and can be used for lots of home remedies.

the carrot-daikon drink is as follows, and all this info is straight out of alicia silverstone's book, the kind diet.

1/4c grated daikon

1/4c grated carrot

1/4 tsp umeboshi plum - minced/smashed

1c water

bring to a boil and simmer for 3 min. after 3 min, add 4 drops of shoyu (soy sauce) and simmer for an additional 4 min.

drink/eat hot. if you want to shred 1/2 nori sheet in it just before consuming, go for it, for a little extra calcium! i think it's yummy...

don't be put off by the horrible smell it exudes, it actually tastes sweet...:)

An easy lunch time meal.

IMG_2839 so my brother called me this afternoon and when i picked up he asked what i was doing. i told him i was just finishing up lunch, so he asked what i ate, and when i told him he started cracking up! i guess in my head these things sound so good, but if you're not eating a plant based diet you may think it sounds strange...i urge you to give it a whirl!

just try this yummy little eeeeasssy meal. it's super healthy and satisfying! i typically make 2 cups of brown rice at the beginning of the week so i have a nice little batch to whip up easy meals on the go.

i also always have a few leafy greens on hand - they are packed with calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium and i try to have at least one serving per day. these include kale, collard greens, bok choy or napa cabbage.

soooo what i do is steam my cabbage and my leeks and put it atop a nice big bed of brown rice and then drizzle the best little dressing ever on it - a mixture of 1tbs flax oil (good for fiber and your liver) and 1 tbs umeboshi plum vinegar (ume plums are a magic little food that aids in digestion and alkalizing the blood) and sprinkle it with toasted sunflower seeds! this is straight out of alicia silverstone's book, the kind diet.

just try it already...