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.
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!
We have all heard the quote that “breakfast is the most important part of the day.” So why do we still skip it, rush through it, or eat morning meals that are basically sugar laden desserts? Eating breakfast wakes up your system, jump starts your metabolism, and prepares your body for the day ahead. Therefore why not choose foods that will fuel you with the energy you need to make it a rockin’ day!
Here are 5 ways to supercharge your breakfast:
Remember that you want a good balance of fiber, protein and carbohydrates to supercharge your morning meal and thus supercharge your day. Make the time to fuel your body well and your body will thank you. Now go rock your day!
Start your year and EVERY day right with these breakfast ideas:
Fruit salad - Combine your favorite seasonal fruits such as apples, pears, oranges, bananas, pineapple, or kiwi, and eat as is or topped with fresh squeezed lime juice, shredded coconut, hemp seeds, nuts and a drizzle of agave.
Smoothies - Throw all the ingredients in the blender the night before, blend in the AM, pour into a Nalgene bottle or reuse a plastic cup and enjoy. Be creative. You can use a base of water, juice, coconut milk or homemade almond milk, then add fresh or frozen fruit, wheat germ/flax/chia/hemp seeds, nut butters or nuts, sunflower seeds, spirulina and a sweetener such as dates, agave or maple syrup.
Or try one of my creations which in just one serving has 13 g Fiber, 14 g Protein, over 1,000 mg Potassium, 45% Calcium, 25% Vitamin D, 17% Vitamin C, 16% Iron, as well as many other vitamins and minerals:
FUNKY MONKEY SMOOTHIE: 1/4 cup chopped dates, 1 banana, 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter, 1/8 cup ground flax seed, 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/4 cup water. Place all in blender and puree.
Oatmeal - Again this can be prepped at night by placing water in a saucepan on the stove and setting out the measured cup of oatmeal with some raisins or dates added to it. In the morning bring water to a boil, place oatmeal and dried fruit in the pan and let simmer while you are doing something else. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or cloves, along with chopped nuts and seeds for added nutrients. Sweeten or add a liquid of choice.
Coconut Yogurt and Muesli/Granola - Bob's Red Mill makes a pure delicious muesli or you can try making your own. The night before or first thing in the morning combine muesli with yogurt and let soak. You can add chopped fruit or use coconut/almond milk instead of the yogurt. For granola, just add yogurt, milk or try with orange juice, the way I sometimes like it.
French Toast, Pancakes, Waffles - Try making your own whole grain bread and use leftovers for french toast. Or make your own wholegrain or gluten free pancake/waffle base to have on hand. Combine dry ingredients and place in an airtight container in the freezer. Just add wet ingredients when you are ready to make them.
A new hearty Pancake/Waffle Recipe I developed this month, which serves about 3 and has 10 g Fiber and 8 g Protein per serving, consists of:
1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup ground flax, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp honey, 3/4 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup applesauce, 1/4 cup water, 1 Tbsp safflower oil, 1/4 -1/2 tsp almond extract, and frozen raspberries.
I mixed all the dry in one bowl, the wet in another, and then blended the two until just combined. Pour in a waffle maker or make pancakes and press raspberries into the batter before flipping sides. Top with applesauce or maple syrup, toasted nuts and seeds, or fresh fruit.
Oh happy delicious day to you!!
This blog is an exploration of life, love, adventure and art primarily through the medium of food.