In a recent cooking class I used the dried powder of a root called Maca to enhance the malty caramel notes in a raw truffle. Ok well I also used it to boost the libido of those who ate the truffles too, tee hee.
When I told my students this their eyes lit up and they all acted like giddy teenagers. Of course they all wanted to know more about this interesting plant that only grows naturally in the mountains of Peru.
Maca is a vegetable that has been used as a food and medicine by Peruvians for thousands of years, over a 100 years in Chinese medicine, and is now rising in use in the global market...and for good reasons. It is thought to be an adaptogen herb that boosts libido and fertility, reduces the stress response, balances hormones, aids in anemic conditions, and is an all around tonic.
The root of the maca plant is the part primarily used and is dried into a powder. This powder is creamy yellow in color and has a malty flavor to it. The way Westerners use it is to add it to smoothies, shakes, raw desserts, porridge, and baked goods. The Peruvians generally would boiled it, ferment it, and make a porridge.
Whether the Western way of just adding the dried root powder works as effectively as the boiled and fermented version is something for you to simply experiment with and see. I have personally experienced and heard from clients that the dried root powder has worked great. All happy clients for sure!
If you are interested in learning more about this plant here are some good reputable sources. This article from the University of Michigan is short and sweet. But if you want solid info and research data, check out this article from the National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health.
If you are already sold and want to explore this amazing plant's tonic and balancing properties, then go to your local health food store and purchase a quality brand of maca root powder. Again you can add it to your favorite smoothie recipes, hot oatmeal or quinoa porridge, raw truffles, or protein shake. Or check out The Maca Team website for a database of recipes and ideas.
And comment below if this herb brings you any magic ;)
Love and vitality to you....
The holiday season is here! Crisp weather, cozy sweaters, family gatherings, shopping excursions, parties, endless errands… and the list goes on.
It is a busy time of year and when we are so busy we sometimes forget to properly nourish ourselves. Either we skip a meal or we grab whatever is convenient but not necessarily healthy.
This in turn can make us hangry, feel yucky, and zap our energy.
Want to know what to do about this? READ the full article here....and enjoy my easy recipe for Maple Cinnamon Granola Bars to stay vibrant and energized this season.
This past week I had the joy of celebrating my two best friends babies who both turned one. There was lots of food, drinks, and of course desserts to honor their first beautiful year of life.
Since it is fall I decided to make pumpkin cupcakes as they are nourishing, yummy and easy to be smashed by babies! This recipe is not gluten free, but I will create a gluten free version for my dessert cookbook that shall be released by spring of 2018. Enjoy!
VEGAN PUMPKIN CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING -makes 17
2 cups all purpose organic flour
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp flaxmeal mixed with 3 Tbsp water (let sit 10 min. until thick)
1 (15oz) can pumpkin
1/4 cup expeller pressed canola oil
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
Heat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 small sized muffin tins with your favorite cupcake liner.
In a medium bowl whisk together flour through salt. In a small bowl mix the flax "egg" with pumpkin, oil, vinegar, water, and vanilla. Make a well in the dry mix and pour in the wet mix. Blend until incorporated, but don't over mix. Scoop about 1/4 cup into each cupcake hole. Bake about 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out dry. Let cool.
FROSTING - makes enough to frost all and have leftovers to dip apples or pear slices in!
1 (8oz) tub of Tofutti at room temp
1/2 cup Earth Balance butter at room temp
1/2 tsp vanilla
3-4 cups organic powdered sugar
In a medium bowl with a hand mixer blend Tofutti, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar until it is the taste and consistency you would like. Blend until smooth, then frost cupcakes. Sprinkle with cinnamon for the fancy factor. Devour.
Celebrate life. Celebrate food. Celebrate YOU!
A lot of people ask what the secret is in the rich creamy chia pudding that I make. I respond to them “well it is made with a lot of love and of course with pure coconut milk”.
Pure coconut milk, meaning the variety that comes in a (BPA free) can versus aseptic packaging. The latter is a “beverage” and has added items such as sugar, vitamins, minerals, gums, natural flavors, lecithin, and carrageenan. The coconut milk base in the beverage is also usually a blend of mostly water and coconut cream.
Canned coconut milk, what I call pure coconut milk, is made with coconut milk as the first ingredient and sometimes has water, guar gum, carrageenan or sulfites. Which variety you purchase is important when buying canned as well as with the beverage.
The variety I purchase and make my famous chia pudding with is from cans that have a BPA free lining and is 100% pure coconut milk. There are no added gums, carrageenan, preservatives or sulfites. I believe this makes a big difference in not only the health of you and our environment, but also in taste and texture. This variety of coconut milk is rich, thick and creamy and makes the best base for chia puddings.
If you are interested in making coconut milk from scratch you can do so simply by combining unsweetened coconut flakes (purchase sulfite free) with water in a blender then straining it. Here is a recipe and how to guide for you. This is a delicious, refreshing and a wonderfully pure food.
Here is a simple chia pudding recipe for you to try out today:
VANILLA CHIA PUDDING
1 (14oz) can full fat coconut milk (My favorite brand is Aroy-D)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
Optional: shredded coconut, fresh fruit, granola to top
Add coconut milk to a mason jar (with cover) and whisk until blended and smooth. Add vanilla extract, maple syrup, cinnamon, and whisk. Add chia seeds and immediately whisk until fully incorporated, no clumps. Put cover on and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning add shredded coconut, fresh fruit, and granola, then enjoy!
Well now that I have divulged my secret I look forward to hearing your stories of making your own coconut milk chia pudding and what fun flavors you come up. Post comments and pics below!
October is a great month to get back in the kitchen and get your culinary jam on.
The bounty of fruits and vegetables that our farms produce is a foodie’s dream. If you haven’t made a trip to the farmer’s market yet or visited a ‘pick your own’ farm, you must do so!
Vibrant wild flowers and happy sunflowers dot the fields, while gardens are overflowing with heirloom tomatoes, kale varieties, rainbow chard, mixed greens, golden beets, collards, and more.
To find out what is being harvested now and where you can pick your own raspberries, peaches, apples and flowers check out Seacoast Eat Local’s Harvest Guide.
To inspire you, click this original article for recipes like Beet, Carrot, Walnut Salad and Kale & Cranberry Salad to enjoy during this bountiful time of year!
This blog is an exploration of life, love, adventure and art primarily through the medium of food.