Gotta Love Lovage Soup

The lovage at our house is almost as high as an elephant’s eye! Okay, maybe not. But it’s almost as high as MY eye! Which means that while it was quite delicately flavored a few weeks ago, and very appropriate for salads, now its strong celery taste is making it a better choice for stir fries and soups.
Lovage is super easy to grow. Find a nice little spot where it gets some morning sun and has room to spread out, because, in the years to come, you can be sure that it will do exactly that. Especially if your children (or your friends’ children) make a habit of whooping it up and shaking the seeds all around, in which case there will be plenty, more than plenty actually, to go around. This is all good, of course. You’ll be glad to have it because you’re going to share it with your friends and use it to make a delicious soup.

•    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
•    1 large red onion, chopped fine
•    2 cloves garlic, minced
•    1 pound baby spinach, washed
•    1 pound watercress, washed
•    ¼ pound fresh lovage, washed
•    4 cups vegetable stock
•    1 large potato, peeled and diced small
•    1 tsp. each salt and fresh black pepper, more to taste

1)    Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, sauté the onion for five minutes, and add the garlic. Cook 2 minutes more.
2)    Add greens and stir.
3)    Add vegetable stock and diced potato. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the potato is soft but not disintegrating.
4)    Remove 2 cups of soup with some bits of potato and set aside. With a stick blender, blend the remaining soup until smooth. Then return the 2 cups of set-aside soup to the pot. Add salt and pepper, stir and serve.
5)    Garnish with any combination of these:
a.    a few thin slices of radish or carrot,
b.    a spoonful of yogurt or creme fraiche,
c.    pumpernickel croutons,
d.    a sprinkle of parmigiana cheese.
e.    Or let your imagination run wild!

Serves 4, and it’s delicious hot or cold.

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Brownies To Crow About

If you are trying to figure out what to bring to the Memorial Day Picnic that’s coming up, you may want to give some consideration to putting these amazing brownies on the menu. In fact, you’ll probably want to do a dry run and make a practice batch beforehand, just to make sure they come out the way you’re hoping. Yes, that’s probably what you’ll want to do!

  • 3/4 c. blanched almond flour
  • 1 tsp. coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter or cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. dairy-free mini chocolate chips
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Lightly oil an 8×8 baking dish. Mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Cut butter or coconut oil into chunks, add to saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add chocolate chips and cocoa powder. Stir until chips soften, and then remove from heat. Continue stirring until all is melted and combined. Set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey and vanilla until well combined. Slowly add in the cooled chocolate mixture with a whisk.

Add dry ingredients and continue whisking until well combined, with no lumps.

Pour into greased pan (or lined with parchment paper) and bake 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan, then slice into squares.

Thank you to Everyday Grain Free Baking by Kelly Smith for the original version of this recipe.

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Garlic Asparagus with Lime

If it’s spring, it’s asparagus time. Unless your hens got into the asparagus bed at the end of last summer and dug it all up, like happy pigs. In which case it is still asparagus time, but, this year, at the supermarket. And it is back to the drawing board for your own asparagus bed, which took the requisite 3 years to mature and was started in 2012. Which would have made this year 4. Just saying.

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 large bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/4 lime
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet, stir in garlic and shallot, and cook 60-90 seconds until fragrant.

Stir in asparagus, cook approx. 3 minutes until bright green, slightly underdone and crisp.

Squeeze lime over asparagus. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with a fresh lime wedge.

Serves 2-4

Your Health is in You

We all could take better care of ourselves. There are any number of reasons but, ultimately, it’s always because we don’t have time. Or at least that’s what we say. Time, the ultimate resource, is limited. You can’t make any more than you get, and you get just twenty-four hours a day, the same as everyone.

You know, there isn’t a long line of folks out there who’ve got YOUR health and happiness at the top of their priority list. You are it. No one else. But there is some very hopeful news to share.

First, you don’t have to do it perfectly, just better. And secondly, with a little creative problem solving, there is an excellent chance that you can figure out how to tuck some of it into things you already do. 

Like squeezing out a Kegel every time your phone rings (good for men AND women, btw).

Buying more fresh vegetables when you go food shopping.

Dancing with your children after dinner for a minute.

Doing the twist while you wait for the microwave.

Closing your eyes and taking a deep breath before you get up, or drive home, or reply.

Being the parent you, yourself, need.

“In the beginning, and in the end, you are the only one who can give your family a happy mother who loves her life.”*

*Endless thanks to my friend, Melissa, whose own happy version of this final statement inspired mine.

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Ginger Snaps & Macaroons

Ever since I got those nut milk bags and started making my own coconut milk a few months ago, there has been a never ending supply of coconut flour, which we’ve been using to make cookies, apple crisp, pudding, and, now, macaroons. If you don’t happen to have a high-speed blender, nut milk bag, and dehydrator, then no worries. Just go to town and buy some coconut flour (or vice versa)! Continue reading

Bob 1 vs. the General 0

Do you eat food? Are you sure? Did you eat “breakfast cereal” this morning? Most “breakfast cereals” aren’t food, which puts them in the “entertainment” category. There are lots of ways to tell, but if the ingredient list alone doesn’t convince, you can just take a look at the highly-designed box. A big part of the experience of eating a bowl of cereal is having your face glued so closely to the captivating box that you have barely any awareness of the stuff you’re shoveling into your mouth. This, as I’ve said on many occasions, is not a good sign. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Spring Greens & Grains

This is one of those recipes that gives you a chance to feature whatever grain you feel like eating today, whatever greens are in season, and whatever other vegetables you are in the mood to sautè. Take a deep breath, saunter through the kitchen to see what’s there, and then gather your goodies and start to chop. If you get everything ready early in the day, you can throw this together pretty quickly. And if you make the grains ahead of time, you’ll feel like a real pro when everything comes together in just minutes! Continue reading

Here’s Your Approach!

It suddenly occurred to me this week, right out of the blue, that stepping into the driver’s seat (and applying our understanding of the differences between real food and manufactured calories) looks different for each of the three major macronutrients: carbohydrate, protein, fat. The strategy for each is slightly different. Now, if you’re new to this, then it’s perfectly reasonable to try one at a time and, without a single second’s hesitation, I would start with carbohydrates. Continue reading

Potatoes, Horseradish, and Other Gifts from the Compost Pile

A few years ago, when winter was coming to an end and spring was still soggy and cold, I discovered a lone organic* potato in my kitchen. It is important to specify organic here because conventionally grown potatoes are much less likely to root and generate offspring. It was dried out, wrinkly, and way past edible.  At least six baby roots were beginning to form on the skin.  I decided to try an experiment. I cut that potato into six small chunks, each containing a single rootlet. I dug a trench in the garden on the far side of my backyard, and dropped the pieces into the trench, about 1 foot apart. I covered them with dirt and waited. A few weeks later, when potato buds began to push up through the mud, I covered them with more dirt and waited again.  I kept covering the buds until I forgot about them completely, distracted as I was by other projects. Later that summer, I found a group of straggly potato plants on the far side of the backyard, and when I finally got around to digging up those potato plants, I discovered many beautiful, golden-skinned, new potatoes, perfect in every way. Continue reading