roasted butternut squash + sweet potato soup with sage butter.

The sage love continues! I know fall means everyone goes crazy over pumpkins, apple, cider, and I love all those things too, but the thing I really love is sage. The woody, musky flavor it imparts on dishes… heavenly. Sage butter is where it’s at, everyone!

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This soup is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters: the sweet potato and squash impart not only a natural sweetness, but a velvety smooth texture without any cream! The addition of cayenne pepper offsets the sweetness so that the finished soup is rich and balanced, but not cloying.

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I garnish this with raw pumpkin seeds for some texture, but this is also wonderful with some toasted baguette or pita. I am SO glad soup season is back in full swing! This would also be a lovely second course for your holiday table!

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roasted butternut squash + sweet potato soup with sage butter.
adapted from epicurious. 

ingredients
1 tablespoon grassfed butter or coconut oil
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced (about 1 medium onion)
3-4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons sage leaves, chopped
4-5 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pumpkin seeds for garnish, optional

directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray, add the butternut squash and sweet potatoes and sprinkle generously with the teaspoon of sea salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and light golden. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat and put the sage in and let it cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sage leaves being to get dark and crinkly. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the nutmeg, cayenne pepper, black pepper and cook for 30-45 seconds, stirring well to combine.

Add the roasted squash and sweet potatoes and broth. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a light simmer, and partially cover. Let cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Let cool for five minutes and either transfer to a blender, or use an immersion blender to blend the soup smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and/or pepper.

Divide amongst 4 bowls and top with toasted pumpkin seeds if desired. This soup freezers great, too!

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

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ginger spiced apple-pear sauce.

I feel like applesauce is so underrated. It is not just for school lunch boxes. So, I’ve made you some! But not just any applesauce, a thick sauce full of not just apple chunks, but pears, spiced with fresh ginger, cinnamon, and lemon, too!

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This easy stovetop applesauce comes together in less than 30 minutes: just peel, core and chop the fruit, mince the ginger, and combine everything in a pan over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the fruit is tender. Once you stir everything together, the fruit will break down. For a smoother sauce, use a potato masher to thoroughly breakdown the fruit. I like to leave it chunky for some texture. I know the ginger probably seems like an odd addition, but trust me! It adds a slight spiciness that plays so well amongst the fruit and cinnamon.

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The sauce will thicken as it cools, the photos were taken right after I took it off the stove, so you’ll see pockets of liquid: these will be gone once the sauce is cooled. Store in an airtight jar, and it will keep well in refrigerator for 7-10 days. Look for my favorite way to serve this next week!

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ginger spiced apple pear sauce.
adapted from Food Network. 

ingredients
3 Macoun, Fuji, or Gala apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 pears (Bosc, or other firm pear), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unrefined sugar (I like coconut palm sugar)
1/4 cup water

directions
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the peeled and cut apples, pears, minced ginger, lemon juice, zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Stir together to get the spices evenly distributed, and then add the water.

Heat to a boil, stir, and then partially cover and reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sauce comes together and the fruit begins to break down, turn the heat off.

Once cool enough to handle, transfer to an airtight container like a Mason jar, and refrigerate once completely cool. Keeps for 7-10 days.

Makes 3 cups.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

dijon tilapia fish cakes with baby arugula.

Today we’re having fish cakes! Tilapia cakes, to be exact. Why should crab cakes have all the fun??

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This recipe is lovely because it can do triple duty: a fresh first course? An elegant yet simple lunch? A light dinner? Check, check, and CHECK.

The key to successful fish cakes is to chill the cakes for thirty minutes minimum after shaping the patties. You may find that the patties are a little wet when you form them, but you’ll be amazed once you’ve let them hang out in the fridge. They really set up nicely, and will not fall apart during the cooking process; which I think is the biggest issue people (myself included, countless times) have when they try to make any type of fritter or cake. Letting them chill for 30-60 minutes is absolutely essential to the success of this recipe. When cooking them, you can press down gently with your spatula to ensure an even browning; I did not do this on my first two cakes, as I was curious about them holding their shape but once they did, I lightly flattened the subsequent patties, as it makes for a prettier presentation.

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See how the bottom cake is unevenly browned? That was my test cake. 🙂

I used 2% greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise, and whole wheat panko instead of white. Both of these swaps up the nutrition and lower the calorie count, so you can feel even better knowing how healthy these are.

I served these with baby arugula tossed with a quick french vinaigrette (recipe below) and a squeeze of lemon: easy and elegant!

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dijon tilapia cakes with arugula. 

ingredients
1.25 pounds tilapia filets
1/4 cup olive oil plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 eggs
3 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup whole wheat panko
6 ounces baby arugula
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I tend to use 4, but go up depending on how acidic you like your dressings)

directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick spray, place each tilapia filet on the sheet and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and pepper and drizzle with the teaspoon of olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through (opaque all the way through). Let cool and using a fork, break into medium flakes. 

In a mixing bowl, add the yogurt, dijon mustard and eggs and whisk to beat the eggs and combine the mixture. Add the sliced chives and stir to incorporate. Add the flaked fish, panko, remaining salt and pepper and lemon zest and fold in to incorporate.

With a cutting board near you, form the mixture into eight cakes (about 1/4 cup each). Do not overwork; the mixture will feel wet. Place the cakes on the cutting board and place in the refrigerator. Let chill for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour.

Heat a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and add half of the cakes (this will depend on the size of your skillet; I was able to cook 4 at a time in 2 batches). Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, pressing gently to slightly flatten. When the cake is ready to flip, it will easily move. Once golden brown on each side, remove to a plate and continue with the next batch, adding the remaining oil.

While the cakes are cooking, make the salad dressing. In a jar or small bowl, whisk the dijon mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Toss with the arugula.

Divide the arugula amongst four plates and top each with two cakes. Serve immediately. Serves 4 as a main, 8 as an appetizer.

*Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible* 

carrot ginger soup.

I cannot believe that I have been blogging for over two years (!), and have yet to share this recipe with you. It is one of my most favorite soups ever. EVER.

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This soup turned me into a carrot soup lover. I never ate it growing up, but once I had it several years ago, I was sold. I crave it now, and it couldn’t be simpler to put together. The ginger provides such a sweet and spicy flavor and aroma, and it pairs perfectly with the carrots. Carrots and ginger are a classic flavor pairing; just think of the carrot ginger salad dressing that is served at most Japanese restaurants! Think of that dressing turned into a soup. The additional of lemon juice and zest add brightness, and the tomato lends some additional acidity to the soup. With just vegetable stock, salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne, the finished soup is delicate, and allows for the carrots and ginger to really shine. This soup is easily made vegan/dairy free by substituting the butter with a vegan spread or coconut oil.

Serve with a swirl of sour cream if you desire, but I prefer it simple, with a hunk of crusty bread on the side. I promise you, this will be your new favorite!

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carrot ginger soup.
adapted from epicurious. 

ingredients
2 tablespoons grassfed butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1.5 teaspoons fresh garlic
1.25 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped (about three cups)
2 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 1.25 cups)
1.5 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
pinch of cayenne (optional)
1/2 teaspoon each sea salt and black pepper (more or less to your preference)

1 carrot, grated, to garnish
sour cream, to garnish

directions
Melt butter and oil in large, deep pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and sauté 2 minutes.

Add chopped carrots, tomatoes, lemon zest, cayenne (if using) and sauté for 1 minute. Add 3 cups stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Puree soup in batches in blender. Return soup to pot. Mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring soup to simmer, thinning with more stock, if desired. Ladle into bowls. Top each with sour cream and grated carrot if desired.

Serves 4 (one cup servings). *Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible* 

sautéed butternut squash + spinach pasta.

I purchased a butternut squash about a week ago and it is the gift that keeps on giving!

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First I used it for butternut squash congee. Then I used some of the grated leftovers for butternut squash polenta when I had friends over for dinner. And I still had some leftover! Not one to let food to go waste, I knew I had to find a way to use up the last cup or so. It was already grated, so the classic roasting was out. I wanted something healthy yet comforting, so vegetable-heavy pasta it is!

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I sautéed the squash in a little mixture of butter and olive oil, seasoned with garlic, crushed red pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the baby spinach until slightly wilted, and then toss with the hot cooked pasta. I do recommend whole wheat here; the nuttiness of it is an ideal accompaniment to the squash and spinach. You can top with grated parmesan if desired, but I left it sweet and simple (and dairy free!).

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butternut squash + spinach pasta. 

ingredients
4-5 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, linguine, or long pasta
sea salt for pasta water
2 tablespoons grassfed butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1.5 cups shredded butternut squash
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2-3 handfuls baby spinach
1/3 cup pasta water

directions
Heat a pot of water to boiling with a big pinch of sea salt, and add the pasta, cooking according to package directions for al dente.

Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter. Once the butter is melted and the fats are lightly sizzling, add the garlic cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly golden but not burnt. Add the butternut squash, nutmeg, cayenne, sea salt and pepper and saute, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes, or until the squash is lightly golden and tender and add the baby spinach. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan with the squash/spinach mixture, and the 1/3 cup of reserved pasta water. Toss well for 1 minute, or until the spinach is just beginning to wilt.

Season with additional salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves 2. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

butternut squash congee with fried ginger.

This is congee dressed up in its autumnal finest. We’ve had our fair share of Indian summer weather here in NY, with temperatures in the high 80s for the majority of the past week. Luckily, the weekend has brought relief, by way of temperatures in the low 60s with a gentle breeze. PERFECT for this incredibly simple yet warming congee turned soup.

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Have you had congee? It is essentially a rice porridge that is commonplace in East and Southeast Asian cuisine. On it’s own, it is typically served as a side dish, dressed up with vegetables, meat or seafood, and it’s transformed into a main dish entree. This is very simple to make, and you’ll be amazed at how the simple ingredients transform into a finished dish that is nuanced, fragrant and complex. The shredded squash will melt into the dish during the long, slow simmer. Finished with some brightness and freshness with the basil, cilantro and fried ginger and served with crusty bread on the side, this dish is perfect when you want cozy, comfort food that you can feel so good about.

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The pulsed rice will help release some of the starches and it will thicken the congee; the consistency is very similar to oatmeal once it’s finished.

butternut squash + ginger congee.
from cooking light magazine.

ingredients
12 ounces (weight) butternut squash, peeled and grated
1/3 cup long grain white rice
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1.5 teaspoons fish sauce
1 inch piece fresh ginger, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

directions
Add the rice to a small bowl and cover with water. Let stand for ten minutes and then drain. Add the rice to a food processor and pulse until the rice is in small granules.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the rice and the grated butternut squash and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sea salt, stock and water. Increase heat to high until the mixture starts to boil. Stir, reduce heat to low and partially cover. Let the mixture simmer for 75-90 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and creamy.

When the mixture is almost done, heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add the ginger slices and fry for 3-4 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Turn the heat off and add the sugar and pepper to the congee. Split the congee amongst four bowls, and top with fried ginger, basil and cilantro. Serve with crusty bread if desired.

Makes four 1 cup servings. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

 

 

 

pan roasted cauliflower steaks with Israeli couscous salad.

Cauliflower steaks? Yes. Yes! These will please even the most diehard carnivores in your life.

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I apologize on the photos; it was getting very dark once I finally plated dinner, but I couldn’t wait to share it with you! This is simple to prepare, but it feels fancy. As a bonus, it’s healthy, too!

I’ve served the pan roasted steaks on a bed of whole wheat Israeli couscous (also called pearled couscous) that was stuffed with toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), shaved parmesan, ribbons of basil, and a sprinkling of fresh lemon zest. You can use white or whole wheat couscous, but I heartily recommend the whole wheat; its nuttiness compliments the cauliflower so well.

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You will have leftover cauliflower florets after you cut the steaks (I slice off the outer pieces, and then cut the steaks from the ~2 inch piece left from the middle). Don’t worry if the steaks are slightly uneven, or if they fall apart some in the pan. One of mine had a floret that wanted to come off, but I just tucked it back in when on the pan while roasting.

While the cauliflower is searing, I make the couscous and let it slightly cool and toast the pepitas. Assemble the salad while the cauliflower is roasting away, and then simply spoon the the salad on the middle of the plate, top with a steak, and garnish with some extra salt and pepper. This is SO GOOD you guys. And good for you! To make vegan/dairy free, omit the parmesan (you could sprinkle with nutritional yeast to get a simple cheesy flavor). Enjoy!

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P.S. The recipe for the remaining florets is coming up soon!

pan roasted cauliflower steaks with Israeli couscous salad.
steak cooking technique courtesy of Dan Barber via Food52.

ingredients
1 head of cauliflower, cut into 2 1 inch steaks (reserve leftover florets for another recipe)
2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for brushing the steaks
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

couscous:
1 cup whole wheat Israeli or pearled couscous
1.25 cups water
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup parmesan shavings
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons basil, cut into a chiffonade
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper to season

directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle the steaks with the sea salt and pepper and add to the pan, searing them for 2 minutes per side (check heat to ensure you are getting a deep golden brown but not burning). After searing, remove them to a foil lined baking sheet and brush with a bit of oil. **You can sear them one at a time if your skillet is not big enough to do both, just use 1 tablespoon oil per steak**

Place the baking sheet with the seared steaks in the oven and roast for 10-12 minutes, until you can pierce the steaks with a fork.

While the steaks are searing, heat 1.25 cups of water and a pinch of sea salt to boiling. Once boiling, add the couscous, cover and turn the heat off. Let sit for 8-10 minutes, and then fluff with a fork (couscous is done once all water is absorbed). Let sit for a few minutes, and then add to a mixing bowl.

Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and add pepitas. Stir occasionally and let toast for 3-4 minutes until they are lightly golden and fragrant. Add to the couscous.

Add basil, parmesan, lemon zest and tablespoon of olive oil to the couscous and pepitas. Season with 1/4 teaspoon each of sea salt and pepper and stir well to combine.

Spoon 1 cup of couscous on each plate and top with a cauliflower steak. Season with additional salt/pepper if desired.

Serves 2.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

Notes: You will have about 1 cup of salad leftover. It will keep well for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can cut and cook another cauliflower steak and increase servings to 3. 

 

potato crusted kale + bell pepper mini quiches.

I love savory egg dishes. I also love recipes that can serve as the starting point for a wide variety of ingredients. This aptly named stir fry, anyone? As someone who lives alone, I often end up with odds and ends of ingredients, and I always have produce that is hanging out in my crisper. As a die hard vegetable lover, I can sometimes get overzealous and purchase more than I can consume at peak freshness. Quiches and frittatas to the rescue! And in my way, I’m lightening up the quiche by replacing the pastry crust with a potato one. Instantly lighter, healthier, and now it’s gluten free… hooray!

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The potato crust is very simple to make, but it is essential that you squeeze out as much moisture as you can prior to adding to the muffin tins, which have been well-coated with cooking spray. This is also incredibly flexible. Don’t like kale? Use spinach! Have asparagus or broccoli to use up? Toss it in! Prefer goat cheese or cheddar to parmesan? Go for it! The possibilities are endless.

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I love using the muffin tins; automatic portion control and it makes them so portable which is great for grabbing on the way to work or school in the morning. These can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature, making them ideal when you’re on the go!

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mini potato-crusted kale + red pepper quiches.

ingredients
1 large russet/baking potato, shredded/grated
1 teaspoon olive oil
nonstick cooking spray
3 whole eggs plus 2 egg whites
scant one cup of nondairy milk
1 ounce parmesan cheese (or any cheese you prefer)
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cups curly kale, sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2-3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper* optional

directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a food processor or large hole box grater, grate a large russet potato that has been washed but not peeled. Add the potatoes to a clean, dry kitchen towel and squeeze as much water/moisture as possible from them. Season with a pinch of sea salt or pepper. Spray 9 cups of a muffin tin well with nonstick cooking spray and add about two spoonfuls of the potatoes to each tin, making sure to have the bottom and 3/4 of the sides of the tin covered with potatoes. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the bell pepper and saute for a minute or two and then add the kale. Reduce heat to medium and stir occasionally, until kale has wilted slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Make the custard: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper, if using. Once the vegetables have cooled slightly, add them and mix well.

Divide the mixture evenly amongst the muffin tins, being careful to not fill over 3/4 of the way (you may have a touch leftover). Bake for 15 minutes or until eggs are set. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Run a kitchen knife around the edges of the cups to pop them out of the tin. Makes 9 quiches.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

wake me up lemon water routine.

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to sleep. Doesn’t mean I’m any good at it, but I love it. Being wrapped up in sheets, cuddled beneath blankets… heaven. Unfortunately for me, I only get about four to five hours a night if I’m lucky. I’ve tried tons of different things, but regardless of their impact on my sleep duration and quality, one thing is constant: supremely exhausted mornings.

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Now, I am a diehard coffee drinker (black, please!), and essentially need it to function; besides the necessity, I really enjoy the flavor and experience of coffee. However, before I reach for the magical beans every morning, I start off with warm water, fresh lemon, and maybe a pinch of cayenne pepper or splash of raw apple cider vinegar as soon as I step out of the shower.

Why? Well, good question! When I was first getting into healthier, greener and cleaner eating, I kept coming across articles touting the benefits of lemon water, and decided I had to try it. A quick google search will show you a plethora of health claims, but I’m here to tell you which claims have some scientific evidence to back them up, and my own personal experience, albeit anecdotally. Your mileage may vary.

The most important thing that warm lemon water does for you is rehydrate you! Sleeping is essentially intermittent fasting: you’re going approximately 6-9 hours without drinking or eating anything, so your body is dehydrated when you wake up. Starting the morning with a mug full of warm (not hot!) water with a squeeze of lemon is a wonderful way to hydrate yourself, and I’ve found that I have more energy throughout the day. Lemon water also helps with improved digestive and liver function, as your liver is most active while you’re sleeping. Lemon water can help stimulate your liver in flushing out all the toxins that your body doesn’t need. Additionally, lemons have a good amount of Vitamin C, which we all know is essential for immune function, but also Vitamin C stimulates the production of collagen, which is necessary for radiant skin! <— This is probably my favorite benefit of lemon water and one that I can definitely see a difference in my skin if I slack or skip it. My skin looks cleaner, brighter, smoother and more ‘plump’ when I am consistent in this routine. That’s reason enough for me! 🙂

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If you have an electric kettle, this is almost embarrassingly easy. If you’re like me, simply heat some water on a stove top kettle until almost boiling. Pour half of the boiling water into a coffee mug and top with equal parts room temperate or tepid water (I do this because I find it difficult to get the right warm but not hot water temperature from my stovetop kettle, but do whatever is easiest for  you. Squeeze in juice from 1/2-1 whole lemon, and add a pinch of cayenne (spice is great for metabolism!), or some ACV (great for skin). Use a straw when drinking, as the lemon juice is quite acidic and can weaken your enamel. Drink each morning and cheers to your health!

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morning lemon water routine. 

directions
juice of one half-one of a lemon
16 ounces of warm water (I do half hot from kettle/half room temp.)
1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar* optional
1 teaspoon fresh ginger* optional

ingredients
Add the fresh squeezed juice of one half/whole lemon (depends on your preference and the juiciness of the lemon) to the warm water. Top with apple cider vinegar and/or ginger if desired.

Drink through a straw (to protect the enamel of your teeth) each morning before consuming anything to eat.  Serves 1.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

clean-out the refrigerator stir fry.

What a title, eh? Along with soups, curries, frittatas, and salads, stir-fries are another wonderful way to use up all those odds and ends in your refrigerator. They are especially forgiving to vegetables.

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During my market shopping, I picked up a few red bell peppers because, well, why not? I figured I’d use them one way or another. When it became clear that I was going to have one leftover or go to waste if I didn’t act quickly, I soon decided to throw together a stir fry featuring that bell pepper, kale, carrots, and celery from last week’s market haul that needed to be used up before going bad, and topping it off with some leftover cooked chicken from a dinner party I had on Saturday. I had both rice noodles and brown rice in my pantry, and decided to go with rice, although you could use whatever your heart or pantry desires!

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The most important thing to remember is use what you have, and to add them to the wok or pan in order, starting with the vegetables that will take the longest to cook: carrots and onions, in my case. If using leafy greens like me (bok choy, spinach, etc.), I like to add them when I add the sauce, just to let them wilt a bit. The sauce I’m using is a very simple, all-purpose stir fry sauce, and it can be modified to your liking. I don’t add garlic or ginger to this sauce, instead I fry them in the oil at the beginning of the cooking process to infuse the oil. Garlic, ginger and jalapeño in my case, but you could use a combination of all three, or sub in scallions if you’ve got those to use. The addition of the cornstarch makes the sauce thick and glossy, and you’ll be hard pressed to believe that you aren’t eating takeout!

To make this dish gluten free, please sub dark and regular soy sauce with tamari which is naturally GF, and be use to use a GF cornstarch (you can also just leave it out, but the sauce will not be as thick).

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I hope you enjoy this as much as I do; you can feel especially good about not wasting food while making such a delicious dish!

refrigerator clean-out stir fry. 

ingredients
4 cups mixed vegetables, sorted by vegetable (I used onion, carrot, celery, red bell pepper, kale)
6 ounces cooked chicken or other leftover protein, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil + 1 teaspoon sesame oil

stir fry sauce:
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (use all regular, low sodium if you do not have dark soy)
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1.5 teaspoons brown or coconut palm sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper

2 cups cooked brown rice, for serving
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional)

directions
Heat grapeseed and sesame oil in a wok or deep skillet over medium-high heat.

While the oil is heating, make the sauce: Add together the soy sauces, oyster sauce, cornstarch, sugar, sesame oil and pepper in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine and dissolve the cornstarch. Set aside.

Once oil is shiny but not smoking, add the ginger, garlic and jalapeño and cook, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes, until the oil is fragrant but the ingredients are not burned. Add the vegetables in order of thickness/hardiness (carrots, onion, celery first for me) and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the bell pepper and any other vegetables besides greens and cook for an additional minute.

Add the cooked protein, greens and scant 1/4 cup of the sauce with 1/4 cup water. Stirring frequently, allow the mixture to cook and thicken up over 2-3 minutes (reduce heat if the mixture is thickening too quickly/starting to boil).

Remove from pan to a serving platter along with cooked rice. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or peanuts if desired.

Serves 3-4.

NOTES: The stir fry sauce recipe will make more than you need for this recipe. Store the remainder in the refrigerator, and it will keep well for up to four weeks.