Though not at 100%, I still felt strong enough to cook us a decent meal for dinner. While cooking may be laborious at times, there is just something special about cooking for the ones that you love.
Since frozen salmon is quite expensive at the moment, I decided to buy wild caught canned salmon and turn it into what people used to call it here in the south “croquettes.”
If you want the recipe there really isn’t one, because I just make stuff up and then after I make it, I say to myself, “you should have written it down, so you can make it again.” I’ll make it again and it will be slightly different because I will inevitably have an ingredient that is missing and will have to do a substitute. But hey, this is just the way I live. 😂😂
Salmon croquettes, made with fresh onions, celery, red bell pepper, about two teaspoons of honey mustard, one egg and about a half cup of cassava flour.
I steamed the petite green beans and finished them with coconut aminos and garlic, sautéed the squash, with onions, red bell pepper, parsley, oregano and tomato paste. I’d say it turned out well, because we have no leftovers. 😋 Cooking is an expression of love.
In ancient times, spices were more than just a condiment added to various foods for flavor. In fact, in many cultures, spices were used not only for consumption but for medicines as well. There was really no distinction between spices that were used to flavor food from spices that were used for medicine. In fact, spices were so valuable that they were often used as articles of exchange and trade.
As a student of functional nutrition, it is always my goal to find foods that not only taste amazing, but can aid in the healing of various health issues.
Here are a few of my favorite spices and how I like to use them to perform double duty.
For my coffee lovers, who also love the various creamers and syrups but are trying to avoid dairy and sugar. Consider adding cinnamon to your brew. Why?? Cinnamon is not only a natural sweetener, but it has been shown to lower blood sugar, which is a big deal if you are diabetic or borderline. It also has anti inflammatory properties. And I love it mixed in tea and in my chicory root coffee.
Turmeric, is another favorite, this brightly colored spice is so commonly used in Indian cooking, I would almost question the authenticity of any Indian dish that doesn’t include it. Turmeric is anti inflammatory, provides anti-oxidants and may also improve memory, as evidenced by the fact, that Indians have the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s globally.
Another favorite around here is ginger. I always have a few numbs of ginger in my freezer, not just for cooking but for stomach aches, nausea, or just as aid for digestion. Did you know that ginger, though spicy is anti-inflammatory? It is an anti-oxidant, anti-viral, reduces arthritis pain, relieves asthma and may even protect the brain from oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Wow!
I could go on! But the point is this, if we’re trying to live our healthiest and to minimize dis-ease, I think we can take a page or two from the ancients. They seemed to understand that food should not only nourish and stop hunger, but should simultaneously have a medical benefit as well.
How would you incorporate healing spices into your daily regimen?
I truly enjoy cooking! Not to the level of opening a restaurant or a cafe, but to the level that I want to cook the best food that I can for those that I love. Fortunately, it’s something that I get to do everyday for my most favorite people on this planet, my children. Today was no different.
Much like many other areas in the country at the moment, we experienced a bit of unusually cold weather, for northwest Georgia. The low this morning was about 27 degrees Fahrenheit with a few snow flurries. It was so cold that my sliding doors on my minivan would not open until it was sufficiently warmed up. I believe the high was a sunny but cold 33 or 34 degrees. Yikes!
With the temperature hovering so low, it only made sense that our dinner would be some type of soup. Let me just say that soup, is my love language. I could absolutely eat soup year round! But what I love around this time of the year is the memories of my childhood that come flooding back when I am in the kitchen. I reminisce on how good it felt to eat at my grandmothers’ tables. I can almost smell all the smells and the joy I felt to when I was in their kitchens.
Both of my grandmothers were wonderful cooks. My dad’s mother, was more of an Iron Chef type cook. That woman could make the most amazing meals and so to us it was always a treat to eat at her home because you knew, no matter what it was, it would be delicious!! My Nana (my mother’s mother) on the other hand was a bit more straight forward with her cooking, her one signature dish was fried chicken. But her hugs and conversation was what drew you in. It saddens me that my children, have never experienced those moments. Perhaps one day, when I become a grandmother, I’ll be able to create in my grandchildren’s lives abundant and colorful memories of love.
Tonight, in honor of serving and all things winter, I decided to make my version of a minestrone soup minus the pasta and beans. What emerged was a flavorful burst of summer squash, chicken sausage, chopped tomatoes and a mixture of herbs that not only make the soup taste delicious, but are also good for you as well. Think, any boost I can give to my immune system, I am in!
The one drawback here is that I am not good about writing things down, because I never really know what is going to come together when I start, but today was an exception. Here is what I used:
One pound of mild chicken sausage (gluten free) with casing removed. One medium yellow onion, five cloves of garlic (fresh), three sticks of celery, and three carrots peeled and chopped. I sautéed that mixture together in my Instant Pot and once cooked through, I started layering in the spices.
Two teaspoons dried oregano, one teaspoon of thyme, one teaspoon of garlic powder, one half teaspoon of dried rosemary, one teaspoon of dried basil and one teaspoon of dried parsley. I then added in a box of chopped tomatoes, a bag of frozen yellow squash and two fresh peeled and chopped zucchini followed by two boxes of chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste! I then put on the lid and let it cook at pressure for about 20 minutes. It was a hit! And we still have plenty for lunch tomorrow.
If you find cooking challenging, start with soup. It’s probably the one meal that you can make that will turn out well, even when you don’t know what you’re doing. But more than that, you will create some lasting memories for the ones you love when you take the lid off that (instant) pot!
“You need to take a good probiotic!” “ Research indicates, that gut health is key to overall health.” Everyday there is literally a new headline touting the importance of gut health and good probiotics. Let’s take a quick peek into why they are now suddenly all the rage and how you might weed through the noise to find what might work best for you.
At birth, the newborns’ gut is seeded with the microbes present in the mother’s birth canal. For children born cesarean section, their guts are seeded with what is on the skin. The type of microbes received at birth are key to the building of the immune system as well as the establishment of neurotransmitters, that are important to optimal neurological function. This can be problematic for C-section births. Their guts are not seeded properly, because the microbes on the skin, have a different purpose. All is not lost, however, breast feeding can make a huge difference in establishing what is necessary for optimal health and growth.
Keep in mind that overtime the microbes in the gut can change, due to stress, hormones, antibiotics and other external insults. When this happens the delicate balance that exists between the good microbes and the more opportunistic microbes can change, which leads to gut dysbiosis, also known as an imbalance in the gut. The ideal ratio by most accounts is 85% good to 15% opportunistic. Just the slightest shift could set off a cascade of issues that on the surface may seem unrelated to the gut.
If you’re wondering by now what can be done about it, let me share a few quick tips that may overtime restore the balance.
1. Clean up your diet. Limit your exposure to processed foods. Those foods have a tendency to favor the opportunistic microbes over the beneficial ones.
2. Exercise. Daily movement is also beneficial to your gut. There is something about blood flow and moving lymph that can get things stirred up in a good way.
3. Add live or cultured foods to your diet. Sauerkraut and fermented foods are a great side dish to show some love to your microbes.
4. Limit medications. We don’t often think that medications can disrupt our microbiome, but they can. In fact, antibiotics are non specific so they wipe out the good and the bad and can take several months, or up to a year in some cases to be restored.
5. Use a good system. This is my favorite, not only because it has a great probiotic in it, but because the three products together work to weed (remove the bad stuff from the digestive tract), seed (replace the beneficial microbes) and finally feed (prebiotics to feed those good microbes) the probiotics so they can flourish and restore balance. https://shop.plexusworldwide.com/believeandhope/product/plexus-triplex
Remember, those microbes are involved in so many processes that make you, you! They are involved in the production of neurotransmitters that impact mood and learning, they have involvement in our immune function and so much more.
Don’t you think it’s time, to show your gut some love? Message me if you would like to learn more.
I could spend hours writing about food and nutrition, if given the chance, but that is not the purpose of this post.
This post is about being intentional with the food you eat. Keep in mind that the food you consume does matter. You are either contributing to health or disease by what you consume.
The process of digestion begins in the brain, which instructs the release of certain enzymes needed to breakdown the food once it is ingested.
But what if, we took a bit more time to be intentional about our meals? For example, setting aside time to eat with the family instead of eating on the go or in shifts.
Incorporating these small steps into your routine, may make meals much more enjoyable and nutritious for the entire family.
1. Set aside a specific time for every meal. This gives the family a time to look forward to and anticipate.
2. Show gratitude for you are about to receive. In my home, we give thanks to God for each meal. Regardless of your religious persuasion, giving thanks for the food before you sets an intention of appreciation that is beneficial too in the digestive process.
3. Consider mealtime as an opportunity to reconnect with family in a meaningful way. Actually discuss the day, laugh and savor the time you are spending together as a family.
4. Clean away the dishes as a family to continue the conversations. Slowing down and being appreciative allows your body to better utilize the nutrition provided.
5. Finally, just be still. Your body is much more efficient in a calm relaxed state.