A Baker’s Dozen of Health Tips

I taught a cooking class to the women in my church recently. The focus was on how to eat healthy.  Here is a recipe for sprouting pumpkin seeds along with lively tips from my class.

Sprouting explodes powerful nutrients and unlocks enzymes to greatly aid digestion and bring optimal health. Buying sprouted seeds of any kind is very expensive.  Below is a recipe for doing it ourselves cheaply.  This same process may be used to sprout any seed and the grain quinoa as well. Now for my health-giving advice:

  1. Enjoy food! God created us to have pleasures at his right hand. It’s important not to deny this! I almost always invite Jesus, my King, to sup with me when I begin a meal.  I let him in.  Eating is a holy exercise.  (Revelation 3:20:  “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:  If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”) Let us invite Jesus, our Redeemer, into our hearts at mealtimes.
  2. Eat multiple, small meals-4 to 5 per day ranging from about 200 to 600 calories each.
  3. Eat foods that please the palate. Make sure they are healthy choices, with lots of variety, and are small portions.
  4. When weight increases suddenly, such as after the holidays, let us be very observant of reducing the quantity (not quality) of our food. Cut back on the special treats, but don’t avoid them totally. Just be more aware of how often we eat them and how much we eat at a time. Let us be patient in letting the weight adjust itself when we are faithful.
  5. Count protein intake for the day. (I was border-line anemic several physicals ago; I wasn’t getting enough protein and very little meat in my diet. Now I am careful about watching both protein and iron consumption.)
  6. Tip for helping our bodies absorb iron: Have a small amount of vitamin C when eating foods high in iron.  Examples are citrus fruits,  fresh squeezed lemon water, tomatoes, strawberries, kiwi, melon, dark greens, broccoli, etc. Choose foods high in iron daily: Include meat in our diets (beef is the best choice, chicken is also very good.) Use spinach. However lots of raw spinach isn’t good. Balance raw spinach with cooked spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables..
  7. High quality salt and electrolytes are so important. A proper balance of these will bring stability to our emotions as well as doing good things for our physical bodies. Use Real Salt, available in the health food section at our local supermarkets. Himalayan salt is also very good, but more expensive. Good salt has a pink color to it; while white salt, including white sea salt, is stripped of necessary, health-giving minerals.
  8. Supplements such as vitamin D and calcium, etc. are very important. It is hard to get the full quantity you need of these in food. Ask your health care provider what you should be taking for YOUR body. Much to my surprise, I discovered supplementing calcium damages my particular physical make-up!
  9. Quinoa is a power food with all the amino acids in it (only eggs and quinoa have these.) Sprouting amplifies its food value. Use it in salads; add it to soups, meatloaf, and casseroles. It is extremely high in protein, but low in carbohydrates and calories.
  10. Spray vegetables and fruits with 97 % distilled white vinegar, mixed with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Let sit 3 minutes. Rinse WELL. This kills parasites and cleans produce.
  11. Start day with eating about 6-7 dried prunes to bring regularity to your bowels. (Prunes with sorbate are fine. It is a natural preservative aiding color and softness of fruit.) 
  12. A miracle happened to me. A seed of God was planted and grew without my efforts: I used to weigh 226 lbs. At this time I used tons of salad dressing. I watched a close friend use dressing sparingly. OVER TIME I began to prefer just a little salad dressing with lots of greens. I first enjoy the plain greens, saving the rich blessing of the dressed salad for last. I DO NOT LIKE the cloying heaviness of too much salad dressing now! I didn’t do this. God did!
  13. Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds May use other seeds or quinoa. (Yields: about 2 cups.)
    1. Cover 2 cups of raw pumpkin seeds with water in a special sprouting container, or a quart-size bowl.
    2. Let sit for two days, changing water frequently (at least every 8 hours.) Seeds will not sprout tails, but the enzymes will be alive in them anyway.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: When sprouting quinoa, drain well after sprouting, then refrigerate.  This is all that is needed for sprouting quinoa.

    1. With pumpkin seeds, drain well and spread out evenly on a cookie sheet. Salt generously. Real Salt is best (this is available in the nutrition center of your local supermarket.)
    2. Dehydrate in a dehydrater, or a conventional oven at a low setting of about 175 degrees.
    3. Check after two hours, if using a conventional oven. Continue drying process, checking every half hour, until seeds are dry. Remove from oven when seeds are crunchy.

    6. Cool and store in an air-tight container. Refrigerate.

Scottish oat scones and more…

20160430_103137One spring day in Montana’s Big Sky country changed my creative life forever.  An imaginative oil painting of mine was drying in the living room.  My tiny, efficient kitchen brimmed with Spanish tapas.  I was entertaining the arts and entertainment editor of the Billings Gazette, whom I knew from my acting world.  She was going to review my article on the historical buildings of this largest city in Montana.  My hopes were she would publish it. She spoke prophetically over me as we indulged in our lavish repast:  “Leave these other artistic quests; seek your true strength of creating quaint, delectable foods; start catering!”

Thus I launched my business in 1982 with all the passion of my former poetic attempts. My first catering assignment was that June.  This editor published an article on my French dinner, thus giving the needed exposure to my new dream.  It was a marvelous meal of bouillabaisse (fine fish stew) with all the trimmings.  This memorable evening marked the beginning of my knowing the joy of my life’s calling.

This fire in my soul originated in southern Montana, but in a very short time my eager endeavors spread north:  I catered elegant historical feasts in my home town of East Glacier Park and the surrounding area.  Groups would have me return each summer to present my “latest creation”.

One such group had me cater my delicacies to them yearly, for several decades. How they blessed me:  They treated me like fine gold as a guest in their home; they paid for blessed, needed massages during my intense labors; there was a memorable night out on their sailboat on Flathead Lake; and so much more…

Another old-time friend invited me over for this scone recipe during one of these trips north. I fell in love with this slightly sweet, nutty breakfast delight from Scotland.  I have been making these scones ever since that morning in the early 1980’s.  I am convinced you’ll be sold on them, too.

Scottish Oat Scones (Yields: 12 servings.)

1 egg

2/3 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/3 cup milk or cream

¼ cup sugar (coconut or cane sugar is best)

1 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour (or grind 1 cup soft, winter wheat berries to make 1½ cup flour)

½ cup unbleached white flour (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill)

1 ¼ cup old fashioned rolled oats (organic is best, available in bulk at most supermarkets)

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp cream of tartar (much cheaper when you buy in bulk food section)

½ tsp salt (Real Salt is best, available in the nutrition center of your local supermarket)

½ cup currants, raisins, or cranberries

spray oil (coconut spray oil is best)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Beat egg in a large bowl. Mix in butter and milk. Add sugar and beat well.
  3. Place all other dry ingredients except fruit in a sealed storage bag. Shake well. Add this to above liquid mixture. Beat thoroughly.
  4. Stir in fruit; let sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Shape dough to form a ball. Pat out on a cookie sheet, sprayed with oil, to form an 8-inch circle. Mark 12 wedges in dough with a sharp knife. (Note: You may bake this on an ungreased stone, which will require almost double the baking time.)
  6. Bake until golden brown in center of oven for about 12-17 minutes. (Time will vary with cookie sheet vs. stone; stone will take up to 30 minutes.) Center should be slightly moist. Do not over bake.
  7. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to serving plate; may serve warm, or at room temperature.

Curried Pineapple Ahi Tuna

Curried pineapple ahi tuna

Curried pineapple ahi tuna

I had a fresh pineapple crying out to be used and a dinner guest about to arrive. This easy, outstanding dish resulted that tantalized my company. The sauce may be prepared ahead of time; you may cook the tuna just prior to serving it.

Nearly every person in my family (parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews) possesses this gift of developing imaginative, delicious recipes. Many are (or have been) professional chefs.  My brother and sister were the backbone of inspiration behind my family’s restaurant high in the Rocky Mountains, at the east entrance to Glacier National Park in Montana.  This establishment belonged to my family for just over 50 years; it was famous in its day for its cherished food.

My brother Paul was trained at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, New York. He brought his polished innovations to our eatery.  On the other hand, my sister Maureen just knows food intuitively.  Her exciting supply sang with nutrition and tastes that blessed the public!

My sister has taught me so much about cooking with optimum health benefits.   She is a master at creating beautiful foods that nourish body and soul.  I am so indebted to her for her nutritive excellence in my skills.

Intuitive wisdom about the preparation of ailments is in my family’s genes. It’s my fundamental inheritance:  I just know how to cook. My “formal” training in this endeavor is limited to one day, as a visitor, at Cordon Blue Cooking School in Paris, France.  The lesson was taught in French, of which I understood very little, but the dishes looked, smelled, and tasted glorious!

Note: I am the only one in my clan that applied higher education in food history to our joy of cooking.

Curried Pineapple Ahi Tuna Simple and superb!  (Yields: 4 servings.)

3 tbsp. oil (coconut or avocado oil is best)

1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 pinches of sugar

3 large carrots, thinly sliced at a diagonal

10 oz. frozen broccoli florettes (organic at Trader Joe’s is best,) partially thawed

2 tbsp. butter

4 tbsp. flour

1-15 oz can of chicken, vegetable, or fish broth/stock

2 cups of fresh pineapple, cut in small pieces (or well-drained, canned crushed pineapple)

4 ahi tuna steaks

salt and pepper to taste (Real Salt is best-available in natural foods at local supermarket)

brown rice (I prefer basmati,) cooked according to directions

  1. Melt 1½ tbsp. of coconut oil in a large frying pan, over medium heat. Add onion and sugar when sizzling; stir and carmelize (cook until well browned.) Set aside in a bowl.
  2. Heat remaining coconut oil; add carrots and broccoli. Cook until tender. Add onions.
  3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour. Whisk and cook over a medium heat for 30 seconds. Slowly add broth, whisking well with each addition. Cook until thickened, stirring with whisk. Add pineapple (sauce will get runny with fruit.) Cook, whisking, until thickened again (won’t be quite as thick.) Add to vegetables in the large frying pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. May set aside at this point and finish just before serving.
  5. Wash tuna steaks and pat dry. Salt and pepper generously.
  6. Place steaks in hot sauce mixture and poach. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
  7. Serve with rice.

1960s French Dinner

1960’s French Dinner

 

Cotes de porc braises a la moutarde

Cotes de porc braises a la moutarde

I have a repertoire of what I call my childhood recipes, of which the following is one of my favorites. It stretches my imagination every time I eat it:  I can hardly believe that food tastes this good!

 

My mother taught me so much about cooking. She was excellent at this endeavor in her day.  My “mentor” exercised her expertise in hospitality in our home, not in the restaurant.  She inspired me to follow in her footsteps with her extensive gourmet preparations.

 

The passing on of tradition from generation to generation is so important. I’ve never married (Jesus is my husband,) but I have a vast quiver full of spiritual children-more than I can count!  My desire is to give to them what was so freely given to me: wisdom.

 

I gaze at this precise diamond through the perspective of food, with all its joys and health-providing benefits. I am so grateful to God, my parents, and my entire family for this knowledge that was birthed in me.

 

We all identify with “comfort foods”, especially those from our youth. I will offer numerous ones with which my mother nurtured my family’s souls.  “Cotes de porc braises a la moutarde” is my first choice in this marvelous journey into the past.

 

Time-Life Books put out a series of cook books showcasing the cuisines of numerous countries in the 1960s. Mom subscribed to these sequels of superb work.  My family and our guests experienced incredible pleasure as a result.  I grew to appreciate the world through its food, in the confines of my home, at a very young age.  This instilled an appetite in me, in my twenties and thirties, to go to the nations to study their eating habits.

 

I have greatly simplified this recipe for pork loin chops from its original complex detail. My version is uncomplicated and literally explodes with unforgettable flavor!

Enjoy!

Cotes de Porc Braisees a la Moutarde  This recipe is adapted from The Cooking of Provincial France, M.F.K. Fisher and the Editors of Time-Life Books, 1968, Time-Life Books, New York.

It is delicious and extremely easy to make. (Yields: 4 servings.)

 

4 center cut, boneless pork loin chops (about 1 ¼ inches thick)

salt (Real Salt is best) and fresh ground pepper

flour for dusting meat

2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp oil (coconut or avocado oil is best)

1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced (about 2 cups sliced)

3 tbsp wine vinegar

¾ cup heavy cream

2 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp lemon juice

Serve with brown rice (my favorite is brown basmati rice).

 

  1. Heat butter and oil in a large, heavy skillet, over medium heat. Wash and lightly pat dry pork chops. Salt and pepper generously. Dredge in flour, shaking off all excess. Sautee in hot oil for 2 minutes on each side. Do not overcook. Remove from pan. Set aside.
  2. Add onions to pan. Stir well. Sweat onions (cook until translucent.) Add vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pan. Cook until most of moisture is gone.
  3. Add cream. Stir well and bring to a boil over medium heat. Place pork chops in onion mixture, coating well with onions/sauce. Cook until pork chops are hot. Do not overcook. Adjust seasonings while pork is heating.
  4. Take off heat. Stir in mustard and lemon juice, mixing into the onions by moving around the chops with a spatula or spoon.
  5. Serve immediately with steamed rice.