Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fall Cooking Class

Getting ready for cooking classes on a rainy day!
The table is bright and cheerful it looks!
Peeling and prepping the butternut squash for soup-making!
Sauteing the onions, garlic and ginger before adding the squash.
Secret ingredient for the decadent flour-less brownie bites.
Beans, cocoa, vanilla, almond butter, and honey in the food processor.
Getting the brownie bites ready for the oven.
Toasted walnuts and pears for the salad. 
Brownie bites are done and no hint or taste of a bean in sight!  Yummy, chocolate-y and decadent.
Prepping mushrooms and onions for the buckwheat crepe filling.
Assembling the baby greens, pears and toasted walnuts
Filling the crepes.
                                   More crepes cooking in the background. So      easy...they just about cook themselves!
 Yum....all served up and ready to eat!

Next class on Saturday November 16th 
Healthy holiday fixings
Register now to hold your spot!

Lisa Olko RN is a Certified Health and Lifestyle Coach.  To read more about her and the services she offers visit her website.  To get a Free Health Consultation with Lisa click Here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fresh Fig Dessert

This is the yummiest, the simplest and most heavenly dessert I've had in a while.

Fresh Figs with Greek Yogurt, Toasted Walnuts and Honey

Fresh ripe figs
Plain greek yogurt
Walnuts, chopped and toasted
Raw honey

Remove and discard fig stems.
Slice figs open like a flower.
Place yogurt in the middle of flower.
Sprinkle walnuts and drizzle honey.
Serve and enjoy! 

For a printable version of this recipe click here

Lisa Olko RN is a Certified Health and Lifestyle Coach.  To read more about her and the services she offers visit her website.  To get a Free Health Consultation with Lisa click Here.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

What's been cooking?

Hello's summertime..... and it has sure been busy in my neck of the woods.  It has been way too long since I've posted here as I have been somewhat engrossed in summer school. I'm taking classes to gear up for re-entry into nursing school and have had alot of fun taking an art appreciation class thus my previous post which was the first paper I wrote this semester. I have  been researching and writing a paper almost every week for the last 9 weeks.  I toured the Rotunda and the Academical Village  at UVA and wrote a paper analyzing the architecture.  I visited the Richmond Art Museum which was mind-blowing and I wrote another paper on that.  I did have some time in there however to teach a group cooking class which was truly alot of fun and we made some amazing food.  We were a group of 6 women and we cooked a lovely seasonal summer menu. Here's a recap of what our class was like.
All ready to go...
Getting our 40 year old ACME Juicer ready to make our vegetable juice cocktails....
Making Potassium Juice (carrot, celery, parsley and spinach)...
and carrot, beet and apple juice.......YUM!!
Such beautiful frothiness!!!!!
Next up.....Preparing the tofu for teriyaki tofu...
Cutting and blotting the tofu to make it less wet......
Preparing the pans with coconut oil to lightly brown the tofu slices... 
Nice and crispy and slightly browned...
Mincing the scallions...
Preparing the marinade...
Scallions, soy sauce, sesame seeds and other ingredients...
Getting the tofu ready to bake in the oven for about 20 minutes...
Preparing the squash by first halving and then scoring the tops...
Making the miso-ginger sauce for the squash...
Making the tahini sesame sauce for the rice noodles...
The finished sesame sauce....yummy! 
The finished noodles....Next time I buy the wider bad.... but they still tasted good!
Gluten- free Shortcake preparation...using almond flour...
Shortcakes ready for the oven and the strawberries all cut up....
Brown and crisp on the outside and nutty and moist inside...
Our Meal: Sesame rice noodles, Teriyaki tempeh, Miso ginger baked summer squash followed by....
Our strawberry shortcake dessert served with coconut whipped cream and fresh mint leaves! Everything tasted amazing and it was so fun to cook together....I can't wait until the next time!

Photo credits go to Jona Noelle Baily.

Next cooking class will be held on Saturday 
September 21, 2013
FALL MENU, to be announced
from 10:00 am- 1:00 pm at Lisa's house
Please call 434-973-1700 or email Lisa to reserve your space!

Lisa Olko RN is a Certified Health and Lifestyle Coach.  To read more about her and the services she offers visit her website.  To get a Free Health Consultation with Lisa click Here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Art Appreciation

Art was always a very big part of my life. Not only was art something cherished and nurtured by my family growing up but it was so prevalent that I can heartily and simply say that art was an inseparable part of my life.  From early childhood to young adulthood I was greatly influenced by the beauty and power of all forms of art, it presently enhances my life and I imagine it always will.
My earliest memory of art was using Crayola crayons, the ones that came in a box with 64 colors and a built in sharpener. We had reams of clean newsprint, plain notebooks as well as stacks of coloring books available seemingly wherever we went, whether it be at home, a cousin or friends house as well as the doctor or dentist’s office. What a great memory to get to use a fresh new coloring book. At age four I was constantly pretending I was the secretary of my favorite TV character and I would be taking imaginary dictation and be writing perfect circles with pen on paper over and over again.  I didn’t think of it as art back then, I was just a little girl scribbling or doodling, but now I would consider it art.  I remember breaking my leg at age 5 and being brought art supplies by my relatives; something to keep me busy while I recovered and convalesced.  Every Easter in our baskets along with candy we received those flat long rectangular boxes with the circles of primary water colors and brand new paint brushes with little pads of watercolor paper.  I also remember dabbling with craypas, those drawing sticks of half crayon and half pastel and I loved the way their colors could meld with other colors and you can use the tips of your fingers to create shading.  I also remember smearing the red on my cheeks as pretend rouge.
We grew up in an inner city neighborhood and we’d play for hours in the streets, coloring the macadam with colored chalk drawings and of course many hopscotch boards.  When I was about 10 years old my father started to get interested in oil painting and he bought many flat small canvases. We would all sit together around the kitchen table, my two sisters, my mom and dad and myself and we’d paint on our canvases with oil paints. My dad used books and TV painting shows to direct his endeavors. My mother and I remember drawing on the boards with pencil then painting in the lines.  Another favorite kitchen table art event was the yearly egg dying where we would always try for the different and unusual shades by dipping, double dipping and over dipping a few eggs to see if we can make some new color discoveries, many of which resulted in your basic shade of ugly gray or muddied brown.
           There were always books around our apartment on how to paint with various mediums such as oils, watercolors, and acrylics. There were books on how to paint landscapes, still life, people and animals as well as books of famous painters like Van Gogh, Renoir and Picasso.  There were books with in depth directions on how to draw anything.  I remembered loving to draw horses because I was
fascinated by how easy it was to put together the certain sized circles, ovals and connecting lines in just the right places to get the proper proportion so the the horse would look just right.
I was intrigued by the book on how to mix colors and the beautiful photos of color wheels and pages and pages of color swatches made of brushstrokes.  I was also curious how they came up with some of the names of colors such as sepia, burnt umber and raw sienna.
          Besides the art supplies and all the painting and coloring we did at home, there was always some craft project going on whether it was clay sculpting or paper Mache or little sewing projects.  School also incorporated many art adventures.  In 4th or 5th grade I remember being put in charge of decorating the bulletin boards with colored construction paper, cutout shapes and letters depicting the present history lesson, current season or approaching holiday.  Even the many books available at school and home I have fond memories of how beautifully illustrated they were.  We had a lovely children’s bible that I would spend hours just looking at the pictures and could tell the whole story without even reading it.  I can’t forget to mention the class trips to museums to see famous paintings and sculptures as well as the artsy crafts we did in girl scouts, such as pasta art, shadow box book reports and activity scenes as well as popsicle stick people and houses.
          Besides all of these lovely art experiences I had as a child I distinctly remember some of the artwork that graced the walls of my home and the homes of some of my relatives.  My grandparent’s apartment had a lot of religious artwork, paintings of baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary.  I also seem to remember a print hanging up of Leonardo Davinci’s The Last Supper.  I can still conjure the emotional qualities portrayed by this art.  I vividly remember gazing at the many ornate statues and stained glass windows in the Catholic churches I attended as a child and can still touch into and feel the deep impressions all of this had on me.  I’ve always loved the art on Christmas cards and remembered being surrounded by Norman Rockwell paintings on the Saturday Evening Post Magazines.  One painting that stands out from my parent’s house was A Young Girl Reading by Jean Honore-Fragonard.  I absolutely loved that woman in the ruffled yellow dress reading her book; I wanted to be her somehow.
          I am thankful for the myriad ways that I was exposed to art as a child.  I have one sister who went to art school and presently creates brilliant works of art and another sister who collects and treasures all kinds of art and fills her home with it.  My father’s paintings adorn my mother’s walls as well as my own home and I myself love to create art in various forms and mediums.  I am appreciating the opportunity to have gathered and documented my thoughts on this topic and I find myself most grateful for the way that art has richly informed, educated and nourished me as a child and as a human being.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Cicada Medicine

In our part of the country we are presently being visited by the 17 year cicada and their whirring, clamourous sound.  They start early around 5 am and don't quit until night fall.   I am amazed  that the young cicada live in the earth for 17 years then they break through the earth and molt, hatch, sing and mate only to lay eggs that then make their way to mother earth to wait another 17 years. I have actually been feeling mesmerized by their  surround sound and am figuring they are here now for a reason and if they are bringing a message I want to recieve it on one level or another.  One thing the Cicada do bring  to us is their healing medicine.
          In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the cicada exoskeletons are used as a powerful medicine and have several therapeutic actions. ChanTui (Periostracum Cicadae) are used to dispel wind-heat in the body especially from the head or eyes. Cicada are a common ingredient used in formulas that treat early-stage febrile disorders or wind-heat syndrome affecting the throat, such as laryngitis, hoarseness of voice, sore throat, headache and fever.
          Cicada dispels heat from the skin and is commonly used as well for the relief of various dermatological disorders, such as urticaria, rash, eczema, measles, chickenpox and itching.  Another attribute of cicada medicine is its ability to extinguish liver wind and relieve spasms thus helping to relieve muscle spasms, twitching, convulsions and high fever, facial paralysis, post-stroke speech, impairment, tetanus, constant crying in infants and infantile seizures.
         As Cicada medicine relieves  liver wind, the liver opens energy pathways to the eyes  helping to brighten the eyes and relieve superficial visual obstruction, blurred vision, red eyes and excessive secretion of tears.

                           A Fitting Testimonial
         Several years ago, one of our office/herb shoppe assistants was overcome by laryngitis. Paul Olko, our beloved TCM herbalist  wrote her a prescription containing cicada which she promptly prepared and started to take.  By the next afternoon, her voice returned. There is no coincidence that nature provides in the most fitting way to use an insect with a powerful voice to help return someone's voice.

         Enjoy their singing while they are here. They'll only be here for another few weeks before they disappear into Mother Earth once again for another 17 years.

Lisa Olko RN is a Certified Health and Lifestyle Coach.  To read more about her and the services she offers visit her website.  To get a Free Health Consultation with Lisa click Here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Seasonal Cooking Classes

Last Saturday was my first Seasonal Cooking Class of the year and it was a smashing success!  I had four women attend  and we cooked a lovely,and deliciously, easy meal together.

Getting Started....All the ingredients are arranged and looking colorfully beautiful!
Barb coring the apples for our dessert of Baked Stuffed Apples... with the new and handy dandy apple corer...we all took turns.

Mary Ann and Barb are stuffing the apples with walnuts, dates, almond flour and coconut oil.....getting them ready for baking.

Just finishing! 
Red lentil stew simmering away with onions, garlic, parsnips and kombu.
Checking on the brown basmati rice which is cooking up rather nicely.

Sharon juliennes the granny smith apple to put in the crispy veggie slaw!

Here I am preparing the salad dressing....with simple ingredients...nothing fancy but oh so yummy!

Tossing the veggies to incorporate the dressing.....we have savoy and red cabbage shredded fine, julienned granny smith apple and mung bean sprouts.
OH MY GOODNESSS.....the best oven roasted broccoli ever....the texture was scrumptious not to mention the flavor!

Happily serving it  all up!

Marjorie....happily waiting to eat!

The finished product....Red Lentil Parsnip Stew over brown basmati rice, with roasted broccoli and veggie slaw.  I forgot to take a picture of the baked apples, but they were lady apples just melted in your mouth hot out of the oven.

Next Seasonal Cooking Classes coming up 
Saturday April 27  11am-2pm
 Hold the date!  
Please join us!!!!!!!!

Lisa Olko RN is a Certified Health and Lifestyle Coach.  To read more about her and the services she offers visit her website.  To get a Free Health Consultation with Lisa click Here.