Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Ah, Thanksgiving! What a special holiday a day set aside for the sole purpose of giving thanks. Giving thanks is a practice that is a surefire way to feel better about almost any trying situation you may find yourself in. Counting your blessings brings about a feeling of abundance and overall well-being. When I find myself whining, complaining, worrying or any other fruitless behavior the mindful act of gratitude always seems to soften my edge and bring me into a state of hopefulness. Knowing that things could always be worse seems to be the trick to turn me in the direction of feeling better. And so the goal is to make everyday a day of thanksgiving.

I have so much to be thankful we all do. Personally I feel very grateful to have this opportunity to share with you and to have this avenue for creativity in the hopes of inspiring you to perhaps eat a little better, get healthier, be happier, breathe easier and to offer you a stream of support. Last year right before Thanksgiving I decided to put together a cooking class for some healthier, low glycemic index recipes for my patients. I had a lot of fun coming up with the recipes and I chose to include a Tofu dish instead of turkey because alot of folks know how to roast a turkey but not too many even know what to do with Tofu. So below you'll find all of my recipes for a simple yet delicious and very healthy Thanksgiving meal that I hope you will enjoy.

Thanksgiving Tofu Turkey and Sesame Gravy
2# extra firm tofu
4 Tbs olive oil
4 Tbs. tamari
1 Tbs each onion and garlic powder
1 cup onion, minced
1 cup celery, cut chunky
1 cup carrots, cut chunky
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
2 pieces dry whole grain bread, cubed
1 tsp fresh or dried sage, thyme, basil
1/4 cup water or broth
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 350.
1. Cut the tofu into thick slabs and brown in olive oil, sprinkle the tofu with tamari, onion and garlic powder. Cook over medium heat till brown and crispy on both sides. Cut into thick cubes and set aside.
2. Saute in 1 Tbs olive oil onion, garlic, mushrooms, celery and carrots .....cook til carrots are almost tender....Add cubed bread, water and all of the herbs and spices....cook for 5-10 minutes til everything looks combined. Prepare a lasagne or deep baking dish by oiling lightly.
3. Add veggies to pan gently mix the tofu into the veggies.
4. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

Click here for the printable version of this recipe!

Sesame Gravy
Saute in 3 Tbs olive oil and 2 Tbs earth balance:
1 finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp celery seed
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp sage
1 tsp salt
When onion is light in color, add:
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tbs. ww flour
Brown for 5 minutes. Then add:
3 cups sesame milk:
1/2 cup sesame seeds blended in blender with
2 1/2 cups water and 2 tbs tamari.
Stir until thickened. Adding more water if too thick.
Serve hot over Tofu Turkey.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Strueseled Sweet Potato Casserole

Assemble the potato mixture and sprinkle with the streusel, then freeze the casserole up to 2 weeks ahead of Thanksgiving. Thaw in refrigerator and bake as directed. Or cook just the potatoes a day ahead, mash and refrigerate and proceed with the recipe as directed the day you're serving the dish. Add 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper if you want to add a bit of heat to this sweet dish.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup)
14 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 5 pounds)
2 scoops vanilla ultrameal or protein powder
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup flaxmeal and 1/4 cup ww flour
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate
1/4 cup chilled earth balance, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375°. Place potato in a large pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.
Combine the ultrameal or protein powder and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add potato to egg mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Spoon potato mixture into an oiled13 x 9-inch baking dish.
Combine flour, flax, apple concentrate in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add chilled butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans; sprinkle over potato mixture.
Cover and bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes until golden and crusty on top.

Collard Greens

A healthy alternative to the delicious southern greens.
1 lb collard greens
2 Tbs olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut in 2-inch strips, 1/4-inch wide
1/2 large onion, slivered
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 T balsamic vinegar

Directions: Slice off the stems from the collards right below the leaf, and discard the stems. Fill the sink with cold water and give the leaves a good soaking and washing to get rid or all the grit clinging to the folds of the leaves.
Drop the greens into a couple of inches of boiling salted water. Boil for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again and chop coarsely.
Pour the olive oil into a large skillet. Toss in the peppers and onions, seasoning them with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Once they're soft, toss in the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Dump in the greens and give them a stir. Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, the vinegar. Stir one more time and serve up a mess of healthy greens.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
1 12-ounce bag fresh whole cranberries
2 tablespoons water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup orange marmalade, sweetened with juice
1 to 2 tablespoons apple juice concentrate

Place the cranberries, water, apple juice concentrate and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan.
Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring,
until the cranberries pop. Remove from heat, stir in the marmalade, and cool.
(This can be made up to 4
days ahead.) Cover and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature.
Time-saver: Using marmalade to flavor the cranberries is a quick way to add a
sweet, complex dimension to a traditional side dish.

Yield: 2 cups

Apple Crisp with dried cranberries
Serves 8-10

4 large baking apples
¼ cup dried cranberries juice sweetened or unsweetened
¼ cup apple juice concentrate
¼ cup ww flour or rice flour
¼ cup flaxmeal
½ cup oats
¾ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup earth balance or canola oil

Core, peel and slice apples into a baking dish.
Mix remaining ingredients and spread over apples.
Bake for 30 minutes at 375.
Best served warm.

Click here for the printable version of this recipe!

Well all.....please have fun cooking all the yummy Thanksgiving foods, and gathering together with your family and friends for a lovely and very nourishing holiday. It is truly wonderful to have a day to stop and Give Thanks!

With Gratitude,


Sunday, November 1, 2009

FAITH is believing when common sense tells you not to

Early this Autumn I was having a stressful day, it was rainy and cold and I was feeling discouraged about how a few things were going in my life and my faith was a tiny thread....I rationally knew that I needed to have patience that all would work out in it's own time but my heart was heavy and I was weary. While I was out doing errands that day a few treasures were laid before me that seemed to say ....."don't lose heart because help was on the way". The treasures I found were a beautiful heart shaped leaf with tiny beads of rain on it and some pennies from heaven not common cents/ common sense at all!

How many times did you start out having faith and you lose steam and stop believing and then give up on your dream? This has happened to me too often and I question my faith in general as well as my belief in myself. Something happens that creates tension in me whether it be a conflict with someone or something , perhaps I don't feel well or I have some form of limitation that is frustrating me and as a result I decide to change my response, my habit, my thought pattern. I do know that I can change, I've seen it , I've done it and I've been there. I know that improvement is natural and that wellness and joy is my true nature physically, mentally, emotionally and what trips me up and disempowers me? Doubt as well as a lack of patience trips me up and seems to be a pervading presence that undermines my focus. Why do I doubt so much? I think deep down that I have belief systems in place that work against me. Rationally all is fine and good but when push comes to shove my pattern is to cave in. And why am I so impatient? If I could just sit back and relax and know that time will take care of everything and that some things just take more time and that things usually get easier after awhile and with practice.

For instance, one activity I would like to incorporate in my life is the practice of meditation.....I seem to find every excuse in the book not to be regular. I need only to get started and have a taste of the peace that comes and then I would get hooked and a new habit would eventually be formed. Maybe somewhere in there I don't believe I really have the ability to quiet my mind despite the fact that on a daily basis I am learning to focus and become aware of negative chatter so I need to look to my accomplishments and dwell on that and move forward.....easier said than done...but definitely doable. Does this require faith alone....I think it also requires my willpower and my inner resolve. Things are meant to go well and if I find myself in a state of unwellness- I know that the nature of life itself.... is CHANGE. Making changes in myself does require faith. The dictionary states that faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. So where is my faith? A good question to ponder.

Starting small seems to really help. Small goals help to set the pace and build on small accomplishments. If you're learning to eat about trying a new recipe each week? It feels overwhelming to try and do it all....all at once.....but a recipe a week is not hard. If you are drinking coffee everyday and want to kick the habit...weaning yourself is the way to go for more surefire success. So if you're used to the daily grind full about cutting back to making a couple of those cups decaf? and slowly, slowly cutting back....How about taking relaxation breaks ? If you don't have 30 minutes, how about a 5 minute stretch and breathe break....there is always something you can do that helps you feel like you are accomplishing your goals. And what a gratifying feeling. Having faith in the little things can help you with the big things. Before you know it you have some confidence in yourself aka faith in yourself!!!!! Bingo!!!!! Success!!!!!!! Bravo!!!!!!! You did it and know you're on your way.

Talking of new recipes....I have one for you. The other day I had made some nice broiled fish, baked potatoes and greens and I needed one more dish. I felt I was needing more color on the plates to look pretty and also I was having a major craving for a crunchy salad thus Crunchy Cabbage and Apple Salad. I was very pleased with the way it came out that I think you'll enjoy it too.....just be careful because you may want to eat too much!

1/2 medium head red cabbage, shredded super thin
1 celery stalk, sliced super thin on the diagonal
1-2 apples depending on size, cored and sliced super thin
2 Tbs olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 scant tsp sucanat, optional can also use 1 tsp. apple juice concentrate

Mix everything in a bowl being sure to slice the veggies super thin as texture is everything in this salad. If time is available place in the frig to meld the flavors and chill the salad, but this is not necessary. You can also substitute green cabbage or use a mixture of both red and green cabbage. Toasted walnuts or sunflower seeds might be a delicious addition as well. Enjoy this refreshing salad.

Remember also that cabbage is one of those wonder foods cures just about everything that ails you, it is high is vitamins, fiber and iron and being in the cruciferous family it contains phytochemicals that inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Cabbage is great for the digestion especially in the form of sauerkraut. The best part is that is great for the budget and for the waistline. So make sure to eat your cabbage!

So as you believe your dreams into existence just remember that.............. Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to.

All my best,