Five times during the year nature undergoes a transition into a new season; winter becomes spring, spring turns to summer, summer eases into late summer, late summer succumbs to fall and fall gives way to winter.
When we adapt our daily practices during these periods of transition both in and out of the kitchen and make subtle changes in how we cook, eat, self-care, dress and move we can reap the benefits of aligning ourselves with nature's cycles.
Awareness of each seasonal change is a perfect start.
Pampering our bodies and digestive system is recommended.
Make time for daily self-care whether it's extra time spent outdoors, a massage, a bath, an earlier bed time and an earlier rise time when you can walk outside as the natural world wakes up.
Lighten up on your meals and food consumption during the weeks before and after a "calendar" seasonal change. There's no need for rigid, lengthy detoxes - our bodies naturally detoxify throughout the year. By fueling yourself with healthy foods you provide your body with a strong immune system.
During the summer months, our bodies need lighter fare and easily digested foods. No need to be tied to your kitchen during the summer. Keep your meals simple and delicious and incorporate as much of nature's bounty as you can!
Ayurveda practices promote cooking apples to assist your body in digesting them with ease.
Slicing and steaming an apple in a small amount of water in a saucepan is quick, easy and less intense energetically than baking an apple.
A sliced, steamed apple with a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and/or a splash of fresh lemon juice is a delightful way to start the day; literally "break-the-fast" AND makes a quick snack or dessert.
Need more "Umph"?
Then stir in a tablespoon of almond butter, or another favorite nut butter. Mmmmmmm
Or cook your sliced and diced apple in a pot of oatmeal or porridge.
Or top with some granola.
Intuitively give your body what it craves and needs to achieve optimal health.
Get creative with your hummus!
You can use dried beans that have been soaked and cooked, but this is also a great time of year to look for those canned bean sales and stock your pantry.
1 can of garbanzo, great northern, pinto or cannellini beans - OR - 2 cups of soaked and cooked dried beans
2 Tablespoons of the reserved liquid from the bean can (or water)
1 Tablespoon of tahini (sesame seed butter)
¼ cup of lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional 1 teaspoon of dried herb (cilantro, cumin, red pepper or parsley)
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and blend at high speed until smooth.
Serve fresh vegetables, whole grain crackers or bread sticks or use as a sandwich or wrap spread.
Stores well in a thermos or Tupperware-style container. You can also freeze this and have it on hand for guests.
Summer soups give us the easily digested meals that we need while allowing us to use the garden fresh vegetables available to us.
This is a simple and cleansing soup.
It makes a wonderful base if you care to add other vegetables, tofu, soba noodles, cooked beans and/or miso paste.
I like to include a bowl of this in our main meal of the day or begin my day with it to gently break-the-fast.
Adjust the quantity based on your number of servings desired.
In a medium size sauce pan, add 1 - 2 Tablespoons of dried wakame sea vegetable to 1 1/2 cups of water.
As the wakame soaks and rehydrates, wash and slice 2 celery stalks, fresh parsley leaves and your dark leafy green of choice (kale, collards.)
Add the chopped vegetables to the wakame and water and simmer for 10 minutes on low flame.
Add pea shoots, sliced scallions or minced chives and serve.
Don't let the simplicity of this soup fool you!
Each ingredient is detoxifying and loaded with essential minerals and vitamins.
Fiber-rich, it gently stimulates our intestinal tract while allowing for easy absorption of the nutrients.
This makes a great meal for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner!
Water sauteeing the vegetables in this dish will save you tons of fat calories.
You can always drizzle a bit of olive or toasted sesame oil on at the end for flavor.
Customize the dish each time you prepare it by using different vegetables.
1 medium red or yellow onion, diced
1 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ of a small head of cabbage cut into shreds
1 – 2 red, yellow or orange peppers, cut into bite-size pieces
1 carrot, grated
1 – 2 large leaves kale or collard greens or small broccoli head, finely chopped
6 – 8 baby portabella or white mushrooms, sliced
2 - 3 Tablespoons of freshly grated gingerroot (optional)
1 package of firm tofu* or 1 can of chickpeas or black beans
1 – 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
½ - 1 teaspoon of sea or rock salt or soy sauce
Salsa and fresh cilantro (optional if using black beans)
1. In a large skillet water sauté the grated vegetables until tender.
2. Drain and rinse the tofu or beans and add to the sautéed vegetables. If using tofu, hand crumble the tofu into bite size pieces and add to the skillet on top of the vegetables.
3. Add the turmeric, black pepper and salt and stir to combine.
4. Add the optional salsa and cilantro if using with black beans.
5. Continue cooking on a low temperature until heated through.
6. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
*If a soft scramble is desired, omit the chunkier vegetables and use silken tofu.
Serve as is, on a bed of fresh greens, with a side of roasted sweet potatoes, a slice of whole grain toasted bread or in a tortilla wrap for a breakfast or lunchtime burrito.
"May Our Hearts Overcome Our Habits"
Few of us were raised vegan and when making the transition to a more compassionate and vibrantly healthy lifestyle, many people feel deprived of familiar foods and flavors that they grew up with. We think we miss hot dogs, but in reality its the toppings of ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, etc. that we crave. The same holds true for hard-boiled eggs and egg salad sandwiches. Substituting organic crumbled tofu for our egg and loading up on the flavorful ingredients will make our taste buds sing while fueling our body with a healthy and compassionate alternative.
1 package organic firm tofu, crumbled
1 - 2 celery stalks, minced
1/4 cup onion, minced (optional)
A dollop or two of vegan mayonnaise*
A dollop of your favorite stone ground mustard
Fresh or dried dill
1 teaspoon of turmeric root powder
Open and drain the package of tofu of any excess water and crumble the tofu into a large mixing bowl using your hands.
Mix in chopped celery and onion. (I've added grated carrot as well sometimes)
Starting with a tablespoon at a time, mix in the vegan mayonnaise and mustard until you achieve your desired consistency.
(* A Vegan Mayonnaise Recipe can be found below in the Apple Salad Recipe - scroll down.)
Stir in turmeric, dill, black pepper and salt until well blended. Adjust the seasonings as needed.
Rather than going heavy on the salt, I'll often add more mustard to this recipe.
Turmeric will give you the yellow color AND supply you with it's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties.
This dish should be prepared ahead of time as it tastes best once the flavors have had time to meld together.
Serve on a bed of salad greens or on your favorite sandwich bread.
What is "Kanten?"
Kanten, or Agar Agar, is a gelatin from the vegetable kingdom created by combining two seaweeds, Tengusa and Ogonori.
Commonly used as a thickener for puddings, custards, jelly and other desserts and soups, Agar Agar is a wonderful "harm none" vegan alternative to gelatin.
Prized for its health benefits and versatility, Agar Agar, has zero fat and no taste of its own yet contains minerals including calcium and potassium and fiber.
It is reported to sooth the intestinal tract, promote a feeling of fullness and thus aid in weight loss. (Contraindication: It does have a laxative affect when taken in large quantities.)
It also serves as a lovely palate cleanser.
This fat-free and refreshingly delicious dessert is made using organic 100% Concord grape juice. Grapes are rich in health-protecting antioxidants with purple and dark red varieties found to be higher in resveratrol and flavonoids. Other reported heart-healthy benefits include reducing the risk of blood clots, reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), preventing damage to blood vessels and helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Through trial and error, I have found that there is no substitute for Eden Foods brand of Agar Agar flakes as less expensive brands have not dissolved or gelled properly in recipes. I also recommend purchasing the best, organic 100% fruit juice that you enjoy for this recipe.
Agar Agar can be purchased in health food stores and online from www.edenfoods.com. This recipe can be easily doubled.
Prep Time: One hour including setting/cooling time in refrigerator
2 cups of organic 100% Concord Grape Juice (or any 100% pure fruit juice)
2 Tablespoons of Eden Foods Agar Agar Sea Vegetable Gelatin Flakes
Optional Garnish: Fresh fruit, mint leaf, edible flower
1. In a sauce pan combine 2 cups of 100% Concord grape juice and 2 Tablespoons of Eden Foods Agar Agar flakes.
2. Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer for 4 – 5 minutes, whisking to dissolve the Agar Agar flakes completely.
4. Pour into your favorite cups, parfait glasses or bowls and allow to set and cool completely. (Placing in the refrigerator will speed this step; however, this will set at room temperature after several hours.)
5. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and optional berries.
This blended chia seed pudding recipe is a smooth alternative to typical chunky, overnight versions.
Best prepared and eaten the same day to enjoy the fruit at it's finest.
Use organic, non-GMO ingredients whenever possible.
1/4 - 1/2 cup chia seeds
2 cups coconut, almond or oat milk
1 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 - 2 Medjool dates
- or -
1 - 2 teaspoons of brown rice or maple syrup
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until thoroughly combined.
Pour into cups, bowls, parfait glasses or small mason jars and cool in the refrigerator to set.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Garnish with an edible flower like the violets featured here or a fresh berry.
Organic miso paste is truly a super food and revered
in cultures around the world.
A concentrated and fermented protein source rich in potassium, iron, calcium, Vitamin B-6, magnesium and containing trace amounts of Vitamin A and B-12, miso provides lactobacillus bacteria which assists in recovering intestinal flora and acts as a mineral-rich blood purifier counteracting the over consumption of sugar.
It is believed to strengthen your blood and aid in your body’s elimination of radiation, pesticides and toxins.
Highly alkaline, it possesses savory, salty and sweet flavors.
Traditional miso soup consists of five ingredients; water, sea vegetables, land vegetables, miso paste and a garnish.
Your bowl of soup can be as simple or complex as you like.
A bowl of miso soup is a delicious comfort food and as healing as a bowl of grandma’s chicken noodle soup.
Look for organic miso paste in the refrigerated section of your local health food store.
Prep time: 20 minutes*
1 ½ cup of fresh water
1 stamp-size piece of Kombu/Kelp sea vegetable
1 – 3 medicinal mushrooms, such as, shiitake or maitake
1 – 3 Tablespoons of dried Alaria/Wakame sea vegetable
Land vegetable(s) of choice – use what’s in season and on hand, such as, celery, onions, carrots, radishes, fresh mushrooms, and kale or collard greens
Grated fresh ginger root, optional
2 ½ teaspoons of miso paste diluted in 2 tablespoons of your soup broth
Your garnish of choice – chopped scallions, fresh parsley, an edible flower
1. Place your water, kelp and medicinal mushrooms in a pot and bring to boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer for several minutes while you wash, cut and slice your other vegetables.
3. Add your chopped land vegetables and optional grated ginger and cook on medium heat. *Cook times depend on the amount of items added and their size/cut.
4. When your vegetables have reached the desired texture, reduce the burner to a low heat and add your miso paste by diluting in broth or straining.
5. SIMMER for no more than 2-3 minutes more on the lowest setting.
6. NEVER BOIL YOUR MISO - Doing so will rob you of its fermented benefits.
7. Discard the Kelp/Kombu, or take it out, dice it up and add it back into your soup or compost.
8. Transfer to bowls and garnish and serve hot.
A delicious, low fat, high protein TREAT.
1 package silken, organic tofu
1/3 cup unsweetened cacao powder
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger powder
A pinch of sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend at a high speed until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides several times.
Using a spoon or piping bag, place a layer of the cacao pudding into your glasses/dishes using approximately 2/3 of the cacao pudding.
Reserve the remaining cacao pudding in a bowl to use as a top layer.
Place your parfaits and the bowl of reserved cacao pudding in the refrigerator to set while you make the strawberry tofu pudding.
Recipe for the strawberry tofu pudding:
1 package of silken, organic tofu
I package of fresh or frozen strawberries (or raspberries, dark cherries or blueberries)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons of maple syrup
Blend at a high speed in a food processor until smooth and creamy.
Spoon or pipe this strawberry pudding onto your set cacao pudding layer in your parfait glasses.
Top with remaining cacao pudding using a spoon.
Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Garnish just before serving with fresh mint leaves, edible flowers, candied ginger or shaved chocolate.
Create your own recipe by using different fruit, blending both the cacao pudding and berry pudding together and/or substituting almond or peppermint extract in place of the vanilla extract.
Brown rice syrup, or no sweetener at all, is also an option.
This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled
and can be made one or two days ahead of time.
Enjoy in good health!
One 16 oz package of organic, firm tofu
Dark, leafy greens to steam, such as, kale, collards or swiss chard
Homemade teriyake sauce, or a good quality store-bought brand
Rinse and slice tofu into triangles or rectangles and pan fry in a cast iron skillet with the teriyake sauce for 4 - 6 minutes, turning them once mid-way.
Serve on a bed of steamed leafy greens.
(Homemade Teriyake Sauce: 1/2 cup of tamari/soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger root, 2 garlic cloves, minced, 1/4 cup of organic, brown rice syrup, 2 teaspoons of brown rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of miriin (rice wine,) kuzu to thicken if needed.
In a small saucepan, simmer all of the ingredients, except for the kuzu, for 5 - 7 minutes whisking occasionally. Strain if desired. (I like to leave the garlic and ginger in.) If you want it thicker - dissolve two tablespoons of kuzu (kudzu) in two tablespoons of cold water and whisk into the sauce, stirring constantly until dissolved.
Vegan mayonnaise can be purchased in most grocery stores these days.
The internet is also full of homemade recipes for you to explore.
I prefer a homemade one prepared using tofu; however, we've also used store-bought vegan brands.
Homemade Vegan Mayonnaise
In a food processor or blender, add
1 package of silken tofu
2 - 3 teaspoons of spicy mustard
1 teaspoon of dried dill
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar
A pinch of sea salt
IF you find it too thick, you can thin this out with a little soy milk or a tiny bit of olive oil.
Label, date and store your homemade vegan mayonnaise in a sealed container (preferably glass) in the refrigerator for up to one week.
"Thank you for the high vibrational foods you made for us. It gave us the energy and nutrients we needed to thrive after the sacred sound and cacao ceremony."
- Kelvin Young, Sound Practitioner/Owner at Sacred Sound Healing LLC
"Very informative and fun! I liked that Jeanne provided specific suggestions and accommodated our specific needs. She was able to individualize within our diverse group."
- Annmarie Rad, Gloucester, MA, Herbal Tea Blending class attendee
"Your art through food is fabulous and any event or gathering would be lucky to have you."
- Teresa Monika (Mona Moon), Shamantic Healer, Transformation Coach, Ceremony Alchemist
"Best food I have Ever eaten. Wow."
- Cindi Whittington Cafasso, Former Director at Bridge Healing Arts Center, Farmington, CT
"Mom, are you sure this is vegan?
- Our oldest after eating my Christmas Day lasagna
"UCONN serves a tofu dish, but I like yours much better!"
- Our youngest, a UCONN Freshman, in a text message
"Wow! I have a new attitude! This is delicious!"
- Anti-Inflammatory Cooking Series Class Attendee after eating her first bite of our Tofu Breakfast Sandwich