Archive for January 2016

All that is gold does not glitter

I love this poem from The Lord of the Rings, and I feel like not many people know that these two beautiful, often extrapolated quotes are lines A and B of a Tolkien poem. Tolkien was a Catholic, which is pervasive in his writing and this poem, in particular, but it obviously speaks to most of us about several universal things.

For me, the first 4 lines are about the value of what is not seen above all else, and how we must nurture these “intangibles” in ourselves.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king

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Happy Weekend!

 

Winner, Winner! One Pan Chicken Dinner

I have discovered fennel. The reason fennel is the perfect one pan ingredient in winter is because it is abundant, seasonal, subtly flavors everything and takes on lemon and garlic really beautifully. My other 3 ingredients in this simple, one pan dish are chicken thighs, parsnips, and carrots. It would also be delicious to use fish in this recipe! Another great substitute would be sweet potatoes for parsnips.

I love cooking, but sometimes you just need dinner to be cheap, fast, substantive, and nutrient-dense. I know that combination sounds impossible, but you’ll get it with this. Getting an array of colors in your veggies is a basic way to ensure that. I also might add that this entire dinner is $8. It would have been cheaper, but I refuse to sacrifice my standards for happy chickens!

One Pan Chicken Dinner

You’ll need 45 minutes and…

Chicken (or fish)
2 fennel bulbs
1 bag baby carrots or 3 large carrots
2 parsnips or sweet potatoes
a few cloves garlic
2 lemons2 Tbsp. White wine

I marinated my chicken thighs overnight in plain yogurt, sriracha, lemon juice and herbs ( just some extra parsley and dill I had). This isn’t necessary, but it helped the tenderness and flavor.
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2) Slice fennel into fourths, from top to bottom, reserving fronds
3) Chop carrots and parsnips into bite-size
4) Mix together the following to create marinade: juice of one lemon, lemon zest from that same lemon, 5 large cloves of garlic (minced), a few tablespoons of olive oil,  and salt and pepper. And then pour some out for your homies…AKA sacrifice just 2 Tbsp. of white wine for the sauce!
5) Toss your vegetables in this mixture, coating thoroughly, spread them out on the pan and bake for 15 minutes.
6) While veggies are roasting, slice the other lemon
7) After 15 minutes have passed, remove the pan from the oven, add the chicken to the pan, place lemon slices all over and pour the remaining lemon/olive oil/ wine marinade on top. Roast for 25-30 more minutes or until Chicken thighs are done (internal temp of 155/160).
8) Garnish everything with chopped fennel fronds!

Guest Post: Butternut Fennel Leek Soup

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other, gold.

One of the best parts of being an adult is finding true inspiration and fulfillment from your friendships. I’m really proud and lucky to say that I’ve been friends with Lori and Far for 15 years now, and they each inspire me in different ways. I’m totally humbled to think that my recipes and health lifestyle have inspired some of their own cooking. Far designed this website and Lori created and wrote this recipe with (ME?!) in mind. I’m excited to share that it is delicious and the perfect healthy way to warm up your icy weekend! Go get your ingredients quick, before the storm! And enjoy being snowed in this weekend.


This took me about 1.5 hours to make from start to finish. It has a very good earthy flavor and I think the
ginger does kick it up a notch, so feel free to use less if you prefer. If you don’t have a hand mixer (immersion blender) you can use a blender but be careful because it will be hot, so only fill it up half way! Also, I have read other recipes that call for coconut milk to thicken it up. I decided against it because once it’s all mixed together, I feel like its rich and thick enough. Here is how I made this soup. I think this is a good base and you can add or subtract anything to suit your taste. I thought, “Liz would have some good input!”

Butternut Fennel Leek Soup- Paleo, Whole 30, Dairy and Gluten Free

You will need 1-1.5 hours and:

1 butternut squash (cut in half and seeded)
1 fennel (separate stalks and fronds from bulb- fronds can be used to garnish)
2 leeks
ginger root (as mush as you want) I used almost an entire root- but
you can use 1-2 inches)
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
smoked paprika
olive oil- just enough to coat the veggies and a little to cook the
fennel stalks and ginger
garlic powder

  1. Preheat over to 350
  2. Chop up fennel bulb into 8ths, and cut leeks in half (I barely cut the
    end off and then just up to where the green on the stalk gets super
    dark- about 5 inches)
  3. Combine in a bowl with garlic powder, salt and pepper and olive oil
    enough to coat.
  4. Then take butternut squash halves, drizzle with olive
    oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. put on greased baking
    dish and surround with leek and fennel and bake about 40-50 minutes or
    until butternut is soft and easy to scrape out and the edges of fennel
    and leek are brown.
  5. Thinly chop up the fennel stalks, ginger and mash the garlic,
    throw into a pan and saute with salt and pepper to taste until almost
    caramelized- add some smoked paprika to taste. Add in the lemon juice.
  6. Then add about 4-6 cups chicken stock, simmer until the veggies in the oven are done.
  7. Finally, take a spoon and scoop out all of the butternut squash -should
    come out very easily and have nothing left but the skin, discard skin
    and transfer everything into a big pot. simmer for about another 5
    minutes. Take a hand mixer and mix everything until smooth- taste test
    it and see if it needs anymore salt
  8. Scoop into bowls and garnish with fennel
    fronds. Enjoy!

I LOVE how Lori uses EVERY part of the Fennel in this. Very clever and professional. Let me know if you guys try this out!

Up to the Mountain

up to the mountainLuckily, we had the day off today to relax and recuperate from our quick sojourn to Charlotte this weekend for the Carolina Panthers playoff game. Mornings are sacred time for me, though, so I was happy to jump out of bed at 7 am when the doggies woke up. It gave me a chance to have some coffee and some offline time to contemplate the legacy of MLK and the ways in which we can live a life and raise a family with social justice at the heart of it; something that we talk about with a lot of frequency and fervor in RCIA. It’s hard sometimes to feel like whatever you’re building– a family, a business, a career, an idea– will amount to anything substantial or impactful. If Martin Luther King were alive today, he would be 87 and he would see the fruition of his legacy. But he would also see how much work we have left to do.

I’m encouraged by this quote, and by “Up to the Mountain,” one of my favorite songs, recorded by Patty Griffin in honor of King, himself. Whatever you’re working toward, whether it’s sobriety, debt, getting healthy, losing weight, a relationship, a new career, or something as huge as social justice, take it one day at a time, and brick by brick, bird by bird, you will build something worthy of you.

Sometimes I lay down, no more can I do, but then I go on again, because you asked me to.

 

 

Chocolate Lover’s Pie

sugar free gluten free vegan chocolate pieThis pie is Sugarfree, Gluten Free, and  Vegan! I’m using fewer animal products in my recipes to 1) save money and 2) support a more plant based lifestyle for healthy living and 3) lend my support to local and humanely farmed food by not using factory farm products.

I LOVE dark chocolate. In graduate school I used to eat chocolate every evening after my classes to unwind and because my day was stressful and my diet was so restricted at this time, I could feel the endorphins lighting up and dancing around in my brain after the first bite. I love using 100% cacao in my recipes and I love the health benefits of this treat. I prefer to sweeten it with maple syrup and/or dates, so my sweet concoctions often end up being Vegan!

Check out this recipe and let me know what you think!

You will need 45 minutes and….
For the crust:

1 cup Almond flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil or Vegan ‘Butter’ spread (softened)
Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and use a mixer to incorporate thoroughly. The mixture should be grainy and spreadable in a pie dish when complete.

*My crust is extra dark because I baked the crust in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes before I baked the pie. I thought this would help it to set. It’s not too done, but the prebake is optional.

For the pie:

3 heaping Tbsp. 100% cocoa powder
1 avocado2 tbsp flaxseed mixed into 2 tbsp water
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup of pure, organic maple syrup

Combine wet ingredients with avocado and blend thoroughly until smooth. Use a spatula to mix in your cocoa powder by hand to avoid losing any powder

Pour dark chocolate mixture into crust and bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool and set for 20 minutes before cutting to serve

New Obsessions & Perfected Avocado Toast

What are you into so far in 2016? I’m ashamed to say this, but Matt and I were really enjoying “My Diet is Better than Yours” on ABC last night. I was especially intrigued by the “Wild Diet,” which is pretty much another name given to the nutrition that Paleo/SCD emphasizes. The team of men using that diet, including a popular Paleo cookbook author, was leading in weight loss and heart health after the first episode! Additionally, as a geek archaeologist, I really appreciate relabeling the diet as “primal,” “wild” or “neolithic,” which are all more accurate descriptors. I was so happy that these experts were revealing the truth that you have to eat fat to burn fat. In fact, the only diet coach voted off was the one who emphasized juice fasting(for a WEEK!) The transfats in processed foods are our enemy, not the healthy fats we get from avocados, olive oil, and bone broth. Segue to my other favorite thing of 2016, Avocado Toast. You may have heard of this or already be doing it, but I elevate mine by drizzling a high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (made for dressings not high heat), and pink himalayan sea salt, which I truly believe is going to make me live forever 🙂 Try it on your favorite sprouted grain toast or on my homemade Paleo bread. I’m obsessed. And remember, healthy fats can power you through the day more effectively than sugary starches!

PS If you want the best version of Avocado Toast ever and live in the area, try out breakfast at The Siena Hotel on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.

avocado toast

 

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year Friends! I am so thrilled to see what 2016 has in store for me. I have an entire SYSTEM of 2016 goals and resolutions, divided into 12 areas and spread across the 12 months. My major resolution of 2016, however, is to finish up my DONA Doula certification by attending 3 births this spring. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and joy that this path is unfolding for me in 2016. Check out this post I wrote for Mind Body Green in 2015 or click on the picture below if you are debating the benefits of having your own Doula.

What are you excited about in the new year? Comment below and share this post for a chance to win a FREE peppermint oil.