Here’s my favorite meal—roasted vegetables. Here’s the recipe
Preheat oven to 425°F. Same for convection.
Line a sheet pan with parchment.
Fresh vegetables, cut various sizes. Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, mixed color carrots, fennel, and beets are pictured here. Onions, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, parsnips, radishes, garlic, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and more are also great roasted. For all the vegetables to be done at the same time, the trick is to cut the vegetables in various sizes depending on their water content and firmness. For example, above the carrots are cut smaller to cook in the same length of time as the other vegetables.
Olive oil to drizzle over the vegetables. For the above tray, I used 1/3 cup of EVOO.
Greek seasoning to sprinkle over the vegetables. For the above tray, I used 1-1/2 teaspoons of seasoning. I like Penney’s which is a combination of salt(Y), Turkish oregano, marjoram, garlic, lemon, and black pepper. Fresh rosemary finely chopped with salt and pepper is a good option instead of the Greek seasoning, too. If you like smokey flavor, try smoked salts.
EVOO-drizzle, spice-sprinkle, and hand-toss the cut vegetable pieces to distribute the EVOO and spices. Place each type of vegetable in its own area of the baking sheet. That way if one type of vegetable gets done sooner than the others, it’s easy to remove it from the oven.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, checking after 20 minutes. Serve with a Balsamic glaze or a Truffle infused vinegar.
Sift flour, sugar, and salt into a bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add egg, milk, vanilla, lavender oil, and lavender flowers. Mix well and divide dough into two portions. Flatten the dough into discs; wrap them in wax paper and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 375°F/350°F convection.
Sprinkle a clean surface with confectioner’s sugar. Roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake eight to ten minutes until the edges are barely golden. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight (preferably glass) container.
Delicious with a glass of lemonade and a group of laughing children.
I was about to post a healthy a green recipe, but alas, here’s one more sweet thing to celebrate spring. My friend Helene said, “Kenny Paul loves this Canyon Ranch lemon cake.” And so I made it because Helene knows all about capital D–Delicious.
However, of course, I thought it could use improvement. It has morphed into a “project” recipe which means it does take a bit of planning. However, it is now a DELICIOUS creation. Just sayin’. I serve it with Cocojune coconut yogurt, strained so it’s Greek style thick, berries, a bit of brittle or nuts. Crown it with a few (if in season) pomegranate jewels (seeds).
3 tablespoons poppy seeds 1/2 cup buttermilk or coconut milk 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3/4 teaspoon lemon extract 1/3 cup coconut yogurt 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup butter, melted 1-1/4 cup sugar (divided) 1 egg 2 egg yolks 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (I peel and cook a large Granny Smith apple.) 3 egg whites 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup confectioner’s sugar 3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350°F. Convention 345°F.
Prepare 4 mini loaf pans with parchment liners.
In a small saucepan, combine the buttermilk/coconut milk and poppy seeds and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest, extracts, and yogurt. Mix well and refrigerate overnight.
In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients except sugar. In another bowl combine the wet ingredients; add 1 cup of the sugar and mix well. Combine the two mixtures and stir just until all the dry ingredients are well incorporated with the wet ones, but do NOT overmix. (Overmixing will activate the gluten in the flour and make the bread chewy.)
Whip the egg whites, 1/4 cup sugar, and the cream of tartar, until stiff peaks from. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
Spoon the batter equally into the 4 parchment-lined mini loaf pans. Prepare glaze by mixing all the ingredients together. Set aside.
Bake 30 minutes, checking after 25. They are done when an inserted cake tester comes out clean. Immediately remove the breads from the pans, leaving the parchment on, set on a wire rack, and poke holes in the tops. Drizzle one-half of the glaze over the tops. Let the breads cool completely, remove the parchment, and finish the topes with the remaining glaze.
Store in an airtight (preferably glass or ceramic) container at room temperature for three days. Refrigerate if you prefer and they’ll keep well for a week. You can also freeze them for up to six months.
One of the most FUN events to support healthy food for Raleigh. It’s amazing what one urban acre can grow. Not only vegetables, fruits, flowers, but also friends, community, artists, bodies, and brains. One of my favorite places to hang out and dig in.
Dissolve yeast in milk and set aside. Mix sugar and salt into flour. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles course crumbs. Mix eggs and yeast/milk mixture together. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the yeast/milk/egg mixture. Mix well and knead a few times. Wrap in wax paper and a damp tea towel and refrigerate overnight.
Grease about 50 clothespins with vegetable shortening. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 300º F.
Divide dough in half. On lightly floured surface roll each half into an 8″ wide X 20″ long rectangle. Dough will be about 1/8″ thick. Cut off rough side edges and set aside to roll again later. Cut rectangle in to 3/4″ strips and roll onto clothespin with floured side on the clothespin, overlapping edges. Do not wrap to “shoulder” of the clothespin as removal is difficult. Set rolled curls aside to warm a bit as this helps decorative sugars to adhere a bit better. Prepare all cookies.
Gently roll cookies in sugars. Roll with the swirl so you don’t uncurl the cookie. Place seam side down on parchment lined baking sheet. Double pan and bake 30 minutes until just golden on the bottoms. You can prepare filling while cookies bake.
Cool on wire racks for a few minutes and gently remove each cookie from the clothespin. Eat one. Let the rest cool to room temperature.
1 cup sugar
1 cup salted or unsalted butter divided in two
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (Penzy’s double strength)
1 cup whipping cream
Heat sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan just until butter melts. Place in mixer bowl. Add milk and vanilla. Beat at high speed until mixture combines, about 10 minutes. It will look curdled at first. Add whipping cream and continue to beat at high speed. Add 1/2 cup butter a small piece at a time until the mixture becomes a fluffy frosting. This filling is a bit fussy to make but worth it for the taste. You could opt for your favorite Italian or French buttercream or stabilized whipped cream.
Fill the curls. Immediately eat them. Refrigerate or freeze those that aren’t eaten within an hour of filling. Refrigerate for up to ten days. They freeze for months – which makes the sugar rush last longer.
Merry Christmas and EVERY other holiday that happens this time of year!
Ginger improves digestion (helps with turmeric absorption & allium digesiton), reduces inflammation, may protect respiratory system, fights infections! DOES A LOT!
Coconut Milk is full of antioxidants C, E, & electrolytes potassium, magnesium, phosphorus & antiseptic properties & is an anti-inflammatory & has ZINC & is a strong gut health supporter. MIRACLE FOOD!
Black Pepper is high in antioxidants is anti-inflammatory, boosts nutrient absorption & gut health. BRING IT ON!
Cayenne – I go light on cayenne, a personal preference and intolerance to night shades, but it can aid digestion among many other benefits for folks.
Lemon VITAMIN C and then some. For immunity boosting Vitamin C (time release) is recommended. I drink the juice of half a lemon every morning in warm water to detox my liver a bit as well.
Nutrition from food and supplements, is my ever-changing research project. Nutrition for Mental Health Certification, a CEU course that I took with PESI had the MOST VALUABLE TRUTH, and that is: n=1, the sample size for specific nutrition is one. EVERY individual requires unique health care. What’s right for me is not always right for you.
The legal disclaimer: I am a Duke Integrative Medicine Health Coach and nutritional chef, not a doctor. I do have a voracious appetite for health knowledge. BUT you must work with your trusted health functional medicine professionals to know what’s best for you. IMPORTANT! f you take ANY PRESCRIPTION medications, supplements (and even foods) may interfere with your Rx’s effectiveness or duplicate their purpose. Some prescriptions deplete nutrients that you might need to replace. On a diuretic? You’re losing magnesium. Acid blocker? You can’t absorb vitamin B-12. And the list goes on.
Do we need supplements? Yes. When I walked into the new Wegman’s here in Raleigh a few years ago, the produce department greeted me, like a continent covered with intense color. I actually cried because with all of this abundance, I thought, How can there be this much food and people still be undernourished in North Carolina, the U.S.A., the world? This food is not really enough—no matter how much and how perfect is—to keep our bodies and our brains healthy.
According to Author, Revolution Health Radio podcaster, and co-founder of the California Center for functional Medicine, Chris Kresser, the vitamin and mineral levels in our foods have declined 20 to 40% over the last 50 years. Our supermarket foods look beautiful but are lacking in nutrients because the soil’s microbiome has been destroyed by industrial agriculture’s mono-cropping, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, plant modifications to create beautiful, sometimes flavorless, fruits and vegetables that ship well and tolerate retarded ripening, and time-delay from soil to plate. I mistakenly thought that it was because there were not enough nutrients in the soil and that’s what fertilizers, organic ones, could replace. BUT the problem is that the microbial ecosystem of industrial farmed soil isn’t healthy. The microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, bugs, worms, etc.) make the nutrients bioavailable for the plants, just like our gut microbiome make nutrients available for us. Regenerative faming honors the soil. So grow your own, buy local, organic, and as fresh as possible for the highest nutrient content and the best flavor.
Oh and there’s a whole universe of nutrient synergy to dig into — like you need copper to utilize iron and magnesium for biosynthesis of D. You can see where this can lead.
Here’s a summary of nutrients and testing information as shared by Dr. Hyman‘s The Doctor’s Farmacy Podcast 602 interview with Chris Kresser.
BRAIN! ALL B vitamins are critical but B12 and Folate may only be absorbed sublingually for over 50% of the population. The MTHFR gene variant prohibits B12 and folate absorption except if taken sublingually. Bs are so important. If I become scattered or moody, it’s usually a B vitamin issue.
B-9 FOLATE & B-12 BRAIN Homocysteine or methylmalonic acid is a better test for B-12 ( and B-9 Folate) as serum B-12 doesn’t decrease until stage three and four of efficiency. Excess is possible but unlikely as it is a water-soluble vitamin, which means you pee it away.
IMPORTANT: For absorption, take B12 methylcobalamin and folate methylcobalamin sublingually (under the tongue) B-12 and Folate/B-9 (NOT Folic Acid, which is synthetic.) B infusions? Maybe not. Dr. Gundry summarizes B-12, folate, and iron in his September 13, 2022 podcast. BE SURE TO LISTEN TO THIS!
C 1000 mg TIME RELEASED or take 250 4 times a day. Immunity, iron/nutrient absorption, tissue repair, collagen formation, wound healing, bone & cartilage support. TOO much will give you diarrhea! Especially important for immunity and nutrient absorption!
CALCIUM BRAIN! Tricky to test because if our intake drops our body just pulls it from our bones so the levels seem normal. A chronometer is used which means patients record what they eat over three days which should be 1000-1200 milligrams a day. Tricky spinach seems high in calcium at 30 mg/cup but the oxalate in spinach can prevent any calcium absorption in the body. Brassicaceae (cruciferous vegetables) are a good source, i.e. arugula contains 32 mg per cup of available calcium. Some other sources include dairy and soy products, chia seeds, basil seeds, white beans, sweet potatoes, sunflower and sesame seeds. Get your calcium from food. It’s not recommended to take calcium supplements because of the cardiovascular risk and kidney stones.
COPPER BRAIN! Normal range is 62-140 mcg/dL. Excess copper is associated with neurodegenerative conditions. Test to be sure your level is not too high.
COQ10 Heart Health
D-3 The sufficiency level for D-3 is 30 ng/ml but but it’s safe up to 100 ng/ml. Shoot for 50 ng/ml.
I take 5000 IU per day, EVERY DAY. It is a major brain hormone.TAKE IT IN THE MORNING with K-2 and magnesium. D can interfere with sleep if taken later. Sunlight! Mushrooms, set in the sun have more D. In fact, get outside in the sunlight (no sunglasses) sometime between sunrise and 10 a.m. every day, even if it’s cloudy and your sleep will improve.
IRON Excess iron “rusts” your organs including your brain. Listen to the Dr. Gundry podcast linked above. Watch for iron content in your foods. I love dark green leafy brassicas and my iron level can be high, so I donate blood as often as I can.
K-2 There is no accurate test for vitamin K-2. Take it with your D-3.
LUTEIN 20 mg Eye health I take Bilberry and eat wild blueberries too.
MAGNESIUM THE MAGIC MINERAL you must have. A blood test reveals only a small percentage of the total magnesium in your cells and tissue. Some signs of low magnesium are mental apathy, depression, muscle cramps, constipation, anxiety, numbness, heart issues. Overdose signs are diarrhea, low blood pressure, fatigue, muscle weakness. Overdosing can be fatal but magnesium is definitely depleted from our food sources and it is so important for every function. Bioptimizers is one brand I take. Magnesium citrate and glycerinate are well absorbed—NOT OXIDE used in paint and is cheap.
OMEGA-3 BRAIN from a FISH SOURCE NOT FLAX OR WALNUTS 2000 mg ratio — DHA 66% (brain) EPA 34% (heart) Brain power, heart health. Balance overload of Omega 6 in our diets.
SELENIUM BRAIN Toxic if you overdose. Brazil nuts are loaded with it BUT my nails started ridging which is a sign of overdose so if you eat well it might be easy to get the 55 daily recommendation.
What not to eat? Sugar, fructose when it’s not packaged in a fruit or vegetable. Sugar is a real inflammatory ingredient and inflammation is terrible for the brain. Honey, maple syrup in moderation. And a splurge now and then because, well, I’m a bit fond of my family favorite baked goods. I do have to say that when I go off my healthy (mostly healthy) eating plan and splurge on biscuits, Christmas cookies, and other heavy carb/sugar things, I start to feel foggy and tired. That’s enough to motivate me to return to my luscious rainbow cuisine.
Skip alcohol and caffeine. Well, try to anyhow. I love Athletic Brew non-alcoholic brew as good as any alcoholic one, and Surely Wines, non-alcoholic wines.
What to eat? Organic, regenerative, fresh, real food as local as possible and in season.
SMASH Wild only Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines, Herring. Most omegas are in the skin.
Farm-raised okay for MAGIC-HEALTH-GIVING Oysters, Mussels, Scallops
Free range grass-grazed and finished beef, bison, lamb
Wild game (But consider their diet – are they eating Round-Up?)
Nuts – Macadamia, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, pignoli Almonds and cashews cause issues for some folks.
Seeds – Pumpkin, sesame, hemp, chia, basil, flax
Nightshades see my upcoming blog…about these and oxalates
Artichokes LOVE LOVE LOVE
Fennel Celery Carrots
Alliums GOBS and GOBS of onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, chives
Fruits – mostly berries BUT also lots of pomegranates
Squashes Winter & Summer
Mushrooms LOADS shitakes, oyster, lion’s mane, maitake, reishi, cordeceps, morel, chanterelles, and any others you have fun discovering
Good FATS High heat: Ancient Organics ghee, avocado oil, sesame oil Low heat: grass fed Irish or French butter, EVOO—lots and lots of EVOO from Italy is the most nutrient dense
Pasta – from Italy
Cheese from France (Roquefort), Italy (Parmesean), Greece (Feta), and/or from sheep, goats, buffalo (Buf mozzarella is yummy.) I do use organic Mexican 3-cheese blend as well as a vegan version.
Eggs Free range, organic, local
CoCojune Yogurt – Coconut! I love this. I strain it to make it a thick Greek style yogurt and use it anytime I want a dairy replacement for yogurt or sour cream.
I just had an ethereal trip to my 50th high school reunion. I drove from Raleigh across North Carolina across Tennessee to Memphis. When I crossed the border into Tennessee, I had a memory surge of my childhood in Nashville. I attended junior high and high school further west in Memphis and completed a bit of college at Memphis State. Then I returned to Memphis years later after living in Australia, Singapore, Baltimore, and completed my college degree at 45ish, reconnecting with my dearest friend Brenda and her son John, who loves to boogie and dances with me anywhere. Grief flooded my heart as I paused for a potty break at the Tennessee-flagged rest stop. I walked the parched lawn and thought of my high school friends who had died. I remembered my parents Earl and Ruth, my sister Mary, and her son Matthew, who were all deceased. I started talking to my sister and my parents—because I am crazy and I embrace it. I asked them if there was a heaven and if I would see them there. “Yes, you will be with us, but heaven isn’t like all bizarre gold streets and a gatekeeper. It’s easier and smoother. Sort of like now. Like how we’re just with you.” Of course, I doubted that this voice (or voices) was my sister, mother, father. “Show me a sign that you’re here and that I’m supposed to be going to Memphis.” Mary said, “Go over there by that tree. Hug it. Turn left and look down.” And there, of course, was a/their/my four-leaf clover.
I stopped again near Crossville for a pee break, choosing the kind of funky looking gas station over the spiffy Exxon. In the toilet there was a sign that bragged about the store’s freshly popped popcorn which of course is my favorite food. A sign right? Then I met Jignesh, who was tending the register and beaming joy. He was named after Ganesh, the mover of obstacles. The elephant is my totem. Another sign right?
Well , then we just struck up a lively conversation about elephants and four-leaf clovers and popcorn. “Yes, my logo is a four-leaf clover, ” he said as he pointed to a once live, now pressed one on the countertop. “What amazing energy you have,” he said. “I am so glad you chose my gas station today.” “I’m so glad that I did as well.” I smiled. We obviously knew each other from many past lifetimes. We started talking about food, other than popcorn. Delicious Indian and Southern vegetable concoctions that had some similarities. Okra was a hit. I mentioned the recipes in my recent memoir and he said he would like to read my life. I mean book. So I gave him one.
I asked him to text me a recipe. “Go get a big bag of popcorn,” he insisted. As I left, snack in hand, I took some pics of four-leaf logos and Ganesh. My text pinged. From India, NYC, Nashville, to Crossville, Jignesh now keeps bees that enjoy the plateau. And his customers come back again and again, for the popcorn and for his wisdom. “Most of the time we think we decide everything in our life, but we don’t—our destiny decides.” I’m glad my destiny crossed yours, Jignesh.