Borscht, Vegetarian Style, w/Beets, Cabbage, Potato

This soup can now be found in my ebook, Soup’s On. Alas, I couldn’t post the duplicate content, even on my own webpage, so… I’ll just sum up the recipe for you here. For more details, maybe you can get the book?! :)

Authentic Borscht recipes might use rye flour to thicken the soup, or even “Kwas” (a fermented rye brew). For those used to fermenting foods, it’s nothing too tricky; after rye flour and water ferments for a few days, the water’s poured off. The water gets fermented some more, which gives the soup its twang.Bowl of Bright Red Russian SoupSauerkraut (homemade or store-bought) can sub for the Kwas; it will give the soup a tangy kick as well. If using store-bought sauerkraut, do NOT purchase the one in a can. It really smells like garbage, and then you’ll think you don’t like it. The one in the jar should say, “naturally fermented”; once the product gets canned though, I think it’s subjected to too much heat in processing, which ruins it…

Add beef broth (and/or chunks of beef) for a hearty soup, if you want. But it’s good vegetarian-style too!

To make the soup, just bake (or slow cook) some beets until tender. Or cook them the old-fashioned way, in water on the stove top. Any way you slice it, they get rather messy. Oh well! Set the cooked beets aside.

You’ll also want to cook up some diced potatoes and carrot, in water to cover (again, until tender).

Grill some cabbage in a bit of olive oil (or coconut oil). Add 1 tablespoon or so of rye flour (or sub white flour), plus some caraway seeds (toasted first to bring out flavor). Slowly add some of the cooking water from the potato/carrot pot, stirring until smooth.

At that point, everything can go into the potato pot, including the beets (sliced in thin strips), plus some salt to taste. Add that “Kwas”, or a half cup or so of sauerkraut, or a teaspoon of white vinegar.

Serve it with some sour cream (or a dollop of coconut cream), and maybe a sprinkle of dill weed. Pretty dang good!

Posted in 3. Soups, Recipes | Tagged , | 1 Response

The Phytate-Sphere: Soak Grains, Eat “Sensibly”, Don’t Worry

Foods High In PhytatesBran is not  as trendy as it was ten or twenty years ago. I remember the days- we used to stop by our favorite bakery and consume mass quantities of sugary, sweet bran muffins (probably loaded with unhealthy oils too). I was having a bran fest- I even added raw bran flakes to my cereal. All in the name of “FIBER”!

Was it any wonder that I had some serious anemia? Bran is particularly rich in phytates, which can bind with the iron and other minerals in our system, which can lead to that anemia. Who knows what other health issues might have been connected to my “bran diet”?!

Bran is quite high in phytates; phytates can also be found (in lesser quantities) in grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.  So I’m not a bran fiend anymore. And I do try to soak my grains. Or I ferment them–I’ve really been into homemade, whole-grain sourdough bread lately. (Now that I have a Vitamix that grinds my whole wheat berries into  fresh whole wheat flour…)

Not that I’m not going on a Phytate Rant here. Phytates can be good. Consuming them in our foods probably isn’t going to upset the average person’s health. One caveat: but it might.

Just as in the bran days of yore, any one food trend might lead to unbalance, as the misinformed attempt to overcompensate, adding too much of a good thing to their diets. One of the latest trends is the “Gluten-free” craze (and the GAPS diet). One catch: folks might start chowing down on that gluten-free cake, made with almond meal instead of flour, on a fairly regular basis, telling themselves that this will help them to avoid gluten and regain health. The cost might be a phytate overload…

That was me. After bran went out of style, I forgot about it and prided myself instead on eating “healthy” breakfasts of raw, soaked grains topped with nuts, cacao nibs, and coconut. Another vegetarian meal or two might follow, featuring beans and/or grains. A snack or dessert might include a treat high in cacao nibs and nuts. Ironically, that particular diet of “wholesome” whole foods might have been slightly unbalanced. (Ya think?!)

Not to sound the alarm. There is a plus side to ingesting those phytates. Yes, they are enzyme inhibitors, but also: They can bind to excess minerals in our system. This is a valuable service, considering that excess iron generates free radicals in our bodies. So, while excess phytates might be a problem for an anemic person (like I’m prone to be), they would help someone else who was prone to an excess of iron.

Also, phytates act as antioxidants. They can even fight the proliferation of cancer cells, and improve cardiovascular health. One other feature: They might lower a food’s glycemic load, for the very reason that they slow digestion.

In conclusion: Moderation is our friend. We might consider reducing a potential overload of phytates by soaking some of our grains, beans, seeds and nuts (this will break down phytates, allowing for easier digestion). We might make bread (the yeast/fermentation process decreases phytates), and we might toast some grains, seeds (which also decreases them).

But, unless you’re going off the deep end (like I’ve often done), you can probably just adhere to this simple rule: Eat a sensible diet, be aware of the danger of raw nuts, grains, and seeds consumed in excess, and then… don’t worry about it!

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Carmalizing Sugar (for Walnuts, Caramel Sauce, Etc.)

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One more episode of “From the Land to the Table” (above)- it’s a local show running on Pinole TV. Some friends helped put this together; a fun project, even if I’ve been too busy to continue producing more…

All you need for some excellent caramel sauce is a bit of sugar and some cream. It’s that easy! Or, for caramelized walnuts, just “melt” (caramelize) the sugar first in an iron skillet; add the walnuts, then turn out onto a sheet to let cool. Add to your favorite salads- yum!Homemade Caramel Sauce

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Homemade: Chicken Stock AND Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Above is Episode Two of “From the Land to the Table”. Yes, you can still catch reruns on local Pinole TV. Whoot! This video shows how easy it is to make Raspberry Vinaigrette from scratch. Maybe you want to strain the seeds out, to use the yummy pulp in a dessert? Just save the seeds- soak ‘em in white vinegar for a tasty salad dressing (add a bit o’ honey, salt, olive oil- yum). You can also just use mashed raspberries, brewed a week or so in vinegar, to make a VERY flavorful infused vinegar.

Oh, and I show how to make chicken stock from scratch. No need to buy cans or boxes of this stuff when you can make your own out of bones you might have even thrown away. It’s good not to waste any part of the chicken, especially when you’re using a quality, free-range chicken.Steep Raspberries in White Vinegar- Great Dressing

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Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas w/Mexican-style Red Sauce

YouTube Preview ImageOld friends helped record the above episode of “From the Land to the Table”, shown on local TV back in 2007. (Apparently, they’re still playing re-runs!). Ah, secrets for making vegetarian Black Bean Chili! or enchiladas…

The beauty of this recipe is: It’s ideal for bulk cooking. It will cook up well in a big batch; just  scoop 1/2 c. portions onto plastic wrap and freeze for future meals. It starts out thick; for Chili, just add water when heating up, to desired thickness. Top with grated cheese, sour cream, and fresh chopped tomatoes as desired. The filling is versatile; use for burritos, tostadas, and enchiladas.

Skip using chicken stock or adding cheese, to make this a vegan entree. Still full of flavor! Serves 6-8.

Grateful-Table-Vegetarian-Black-Bean-EnchiladasINGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. black beans
  • 3 to 4 c. chopped yellow onions
  • 2 TBS. minced garlic
  • 3 to 4 TBS. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. dry basil
  • 1/4 c. oregano
  • 2 TBS. whole cumin seed
  • 1/2 c. tomato paste
  • 1 TBS. salt
  • 1 TBS. paprika 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 1 TBS. paprika
  • 1-2 TBS. Chile Powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 pt. hot chicken stock or water (optional—substitute tomato juice for liquid)
  • 10 corn tortillas (or more or less)

Black Bean Filling

PREPARATION

1. Bring approx. 2 qt. water to a boil, then add and simmer 1-2 hours until tender: > 1 lb. black beans

2. Strain cooked beans, return to pot and mash some with potato masher. Set aside. In iron skillet, sauté the following on med. heat until tender (an hour or so): > 3 to 4 c. chopped yellow onions > 2 TBS. minced garlic > 3 to 4 TBS. olive oil

3. Cover onions with a lid at first, so they “sweat” and cook down quicker. Stir occasionally, turning heat down as necessary. Meanwhile, in a hot, dry skillet, stir the following until toasted, setting aside when done: > 1/4 c. dry basil > 1/4 c. oregano > 2 TBS. whole cumin seed

4. Finally, mix the following all together: > Cooked, mashed beans > Sautéed onions/garlic > Toasted herb mix > 1/2 c. tomato paste > 1 TBS. salt > 1 TBS. paprika > 1/4 tsp. cayenne

Red Sauce

PREPARATION

Make this completely vegetarian by omitting the chicken stock. It will still have plenty of flavor.

1. Mix dry ingredients together: > 1/3 c. flour > 1 TBS. paprika > 1-2 TBS. Chile Powder > 1 tsp. salt

2. Add and mix in well: > 1/3 c. oil

3. Then add: > 1 1/3 pt. hot chicken stock or water (optional—substitute canned tomato juice)

4. Bring mixture to a boil, boil 2 minutes, turn off heat.

Black Bean Enchiladas

PREPARATION

1. Sear in hot skillet in a bit of olive oil: > 10 corn tortillas (or more or less)

2. Lay out on board and fill with 1/4 c. Black Bean Chile Mix. Roll up, place in 13x 9 inch pan. Pour Red Sauce over, add 3/4 lb. or so cheddar cheese (grated or sliced in strips). Bake at 375 degrees, 20 minutes or so, until bubbly and golden on top. Top with sour cream or guacamole if desired, or cilantro garnish.

Posted in 7. Dinners, Featured, Recipes, Vegetarian, Video Recipes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Baba Ghanoush: Lo-Carb Paleo, Mideast Dip w/Roasted Eggplant

Eggplant Dip- Paleo Style, Low -CarbWe have fun chowing down on this dish at parties- ah, a dip that’s not loaded with chemicals and bad fats! It’s even naturally low-carb and paleo. Not everyone’s savvy to what it is, and some may even be afraid (“I don’t think I like eggplant”). But with the way the eggplant’s roasted, then mixed with plentiful garlic, lemon, and sesame (butter or even sesame oil), it’s got a great, silky texture. Yum!

Sometimes we feel a bit silly about the name. (Say that fast, three times.) The word means “Father who spoils”… you can tell it’s been affectionately named, right? One Jewish tradition is to drizzle a bit of pomegranate juice on top, or garnish with pomegranate seeds; other recipes might add a bit of yogurt.

This Mideastern recipe also includes tahini, a nut butter made from sesame seeds. In East Asian cultures, the tahini is often made from unhulled, brown sesame seeds, which are most nutritious, with extra minerals and fiber. The seeds can be ground to a paste with a small electric coffee/spice grinder.

More typical is a ground paste of hulled white sesame seeds, which is a bit smoother than its unrefined cousin, often found at specialty stores (or here, on Amazon). An other alternative to tahini, for those with limited resources: Toasted sesame oil, found in the Asian section of many grocery stores.

The standard Globe eggplant takes longer to cook through; Italian and Japanese eggplants will cook more quickly. The eggplant is broiled or pan-roasted (or grilled) until the skin is quite charred, which yields a soft, silky “meat” inside- the basis of this spread. Serves 6 as a side dish; serves 10-15 as an appetizer.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. eggplant (one large eggplant, or up to 6 skinny ones)
  • Zest of half lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 1 TBS.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh garlic (about 3 big cloves)
  • 1/4 c. Tahini (see notes above, or substitute 2 TBS. toasted sesame oil)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. Virgin olive oil (plus extra for garnishing)
  • Parsley for garnish
  • 6 or so Pitas, or crackers or other bread, for dipping
  • Optional: 1/4 c. black or Greek olives
  • Optional: Pomegranate juice, for drizzling on afterwards, or fresh pomegranate seeds

PREPARATION

1. Use a charcoal grill if available, or roast the eggplant in a dry skillet on highest heat. Use: > 1 lb. eggplant, whole

2. Let the eggplant cook on a hot charcoal grill, or in an iron pan. Turn every 7 minutes or so, as needed, until the skin is charred on each side, and the eggplant feels soft. This will probably take 30-60 minutes, depending on heat and the size of the eggplants. Covering the pan will help it to cook through.

3. Let the eggplant cool enough to handle. Peel the skin and discard. Hand-chop the eggplant, or use a food processor (or blender), processing until smooth. Add: > 1 tsp. grated lemon peel > 1 TBS. lemon juice > 1 1/2 tsp. garlic cloves (3 big cloves) > 1/4 c. Tahini (or 2 TBS. toasted sesame oil) > 1/2 tsp. salt > 1/4 c. Virgin olive oil

4. To serve, turn mixture out into shallow serving bowl, drizzle more olive oil on top, and garnish with chopped parsley. Other garnishing options: top with olives, pine nuts, or pomegranate seeds, or drizzle pomegranate juice on top, or even yogurt. Serve at room temperature, with toasted pita triangles, crackers, or other breads.

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Whey Protein Fruity Mix- Use Quality Ingred. w/Home-Made Mix

 

Fruity Whey Protein Powder Mix

I talked about a basic Protein Powder Mix I make in this article. Below is another real simple recipe you can work off of, to make a top-quality, fruit-flavored protein mix that contains no cheap fillers, but only the highest-quality, organic products. Opt out of certain herbs and/or super-fruit powders, according to your individual needs and preferences. (And pocket-book, haha!)

I don’t add every ingredient to every batch of “Fruity Protein Mix”, but use some variation of this every time. For a change-of-pace, I also mix up a “Vanilla” blend, using a basic whey powder/acacia senegal/psyllium seed powder mix, plus some of this super-pure, organic Vanilla Bean Powder, which does NOT contain dextrose and other junk (like many dry flavorings do).

Use the following as a basic guideline, but feel free to just add your favorites!

INGREDIENTS

PREPARATION

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large, large bowl. Store in glass jar in cupboard. Use 2-3 scoops in a smoothie, to add tons of nutrients!

2. To make an easy smoothie that’s low-sugar (and pretty Paleo!), use: > 2-3 (1-oz.) scoops “Fruity Protein Powder” Mix > Half banana > small handful organic, frozen berries of choice > 2 Brazil nuts (or other fave) > 1 TBS. coconut butter > water (or kefir or kombucha)

Posted in 1. Healthy Style (Snacks, Meal-Replacements), Featured, Recipes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs, Deviled Eggs, and Easy Peeling

My friend asked me to post my secret for perfect hard-boiled eggs, so I thought I’d share how we do that at The New Deli. We’ve learned a thing or two in thirty-plus years in the business- we boil about fifteen dozen eggs a week. So take it from us!

Easy-Peel Eggs for Deviled Eggs, Etc.

It is quite common to put eggs into a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. (Then, eggs are removed from the heat to sit for 10 minutes. After that, the hot water is poured off and the pot’s refilled with cold water to cool them.)

The above method might work all right, but it’s not fool-proof. A fellow co-worker tried that method last week, and said peeling them was torture. I think the reason’s because the eggs take longer to get up to a boil if you start with cold water, and the eggs closest to the burner get too hot (becoming overcooked and rubbery).

Instead, at the deli, we bring a separate pot of water to a boil first. We pour the boiling water over a pot of eggs… see the full method below.

If you’re thinking of doing some Fourth of July deviled eggs, you can let the eggs sit in a mix of food-coloring and water for two hours, to color the outsides in a festive, patriotic way! Also, there’s this recipe for “No Mayo Deviled Eggs”, using avocado and such.

Oh, and for Easter, the egg coloring companies aren’t joking when they tell you to use cooled-off eggs. I tried using very freshly boiled, slightly warm eggs one year, thinking it would help the colors to stick better, but they don’t!

Deviled Eggs (& Hard-Boiled Eggs)

We often make a tray of deviled eggs for church events, so some of the ladies wondered how to do that. Deviled eggs are easiest to make right after cooking the eggs; the yolks mash up best while slightly warm, making creamy eggs. Makes 24 eggs.

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 eggs, boiled
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 TBS. sweet relish
  • 2 tsp. mustard (hot and spicy is nice)
  • For garnishing: Paprika and parsley
  • Optional: Capers (for garnish)

PREPARATION

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and pour over another pot filled with: > 12 eggs

 2. Bring pot of eggs and boiling water back up to a boil, then turn the heat down to low for 4 minutes.

3. Turn burner off; let eggs finish cooking as they sit it the hot water for 20 more minutes. (They can sit up to an hour).

4. Pour off the hot water, toss the pot of eggs around so that shells will crack. Fill pot with cold water, and peel eggs under water.

5. Cut each egg in half by scoring around the egg, not cutting through the yolk. This way, the two halves of egg whites can be turned to separate them, and the yolk can pop out whole.

6. To make filling, mash yolks (best done before chilling). Use potato masher if available (or a fork), then add remaining ingredients to taste: > 1/2 c. mayonnaise > 2 TBS. sweet relish > 2 tsp. mustard (hot and spicy is nice)

4. Put deviled egg yolk mixture into zip-lock (or other) bag. Cut tip off and pipe filling into whites. Sprinkle w/ paprika, garnish w/dill. Optional: Add a sprinkling of capers.

 

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Veggie Tray w/ Ranch Dip

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ADD COLOR TO THE BUFFET TABLE

The Veggie Tray with Ranch Dressing is a healthy recipe to serve at parties. The homemade Ranch Dressing below improves on the grocery store version, flavorful and chemical-free. Salad dressing recipes made from scratch are bound to be healthier than store-bought.

For extra color, hollow out a red cabbage to serve the dip in. The leftover cabbage can be sliced up and mixed with any leftover Ranch Dip for a great side dish the next day. The Ranch Dressing recipe makes enough to serve a large crowd, with plenty of veggies on the side. Or use it in salads; it will keep weeks in the refrigerator. Makes 1 quart, serves 35-45.

Red Peppers, Carrot, Broccoli, plus Ranch Dip in Cabbage Bowl

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 pt. sour cream
  • 1 TBS. dill weed
  • 1 TBS. rubbed Italian herbs
  • 1/2 TBS. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 TBS. VegeSal (found at health food stores)
  • 2 TBS. sugar
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • Green leaf lettuce (to line veggie tray)
  • 2 lb. or so carrots (approx. 6 large)
  • 1 lb. or so broccoli crowns
  • 1-2 cucumbers
  • 1 lb. or so red peppers (approx. 3 large)
  • 1 red cabbage for holding the dressing

PREPARATION

1. Mix the following in a bowl: > 2 c. mayonnaise > 1 pt. sour cream > 1 TBS. dill weed > 1 TBS. rubbed Italian herbs > 1/2 TBS. black pepper > 1 1/2 TBS. “VegeSal” (found at health food stores) > 2 TBS. sugar > 1/4 c. lemon juice

2. To assemble veggie tray, line a platter with some green-leaf lettuce (or ornamental kale). Set the hollowed-out cabbage in the center, filling with the dip just before serving, if transporting the tray. Arrange the following veggies on the platter. The broccoli looks especially appetizing added last, nestled around the edge of the cabbage-dip-bowl.

Use the following:

> Carrots: Peel, slice, and add to a jar, with a splash of white vinegar and salt. Shake thoroughly, drain. You can prep the carrots the day before, draining the vinegar mix off and refrigerating until ready to assemble. This process really brings out the color, avoiding the “dry look”.

> Broccoli: Rub the tops in a bit of olive oil. Again, this brings out the color, tastes great, and is easier than blanching them. Also, they won’t have that dry look. (Steam as mentioned for Green Beans below, if desired.)

> Green Beans/Asparagus/Etc.: Get a big (preferably iron) pan very hot. Add prepped veggies and steam quickly by adding a splash of water and a lid. Broccoli and asparagus will only take a minute or two like this, then cool off quickly by spreading on a cookie sheet and refrigerating. Their color will be bright and the flavor will be fresh.

> Cucumbers: Score lengthwise with tines of a fork; cut into 1/4″ thick slices.

> Red peppers and any other favorite veggies: Cut into strips, to add color to the tray.

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Lavender Orange Shortbread (w/Virgin Olive Oil)- Tea Party!

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Here’s a streamlined shortbread recipe, unique and full of flavor. Change it up by using toasted fennel seeds in place of the lavender flowers, or dip half the cookie into melted chocolate…

Makes almost 2 dozen cookies.

Grateful-Table-Lavender-Orange-Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 c.), room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, as desired (especially if using unsalted butter)
  • 1/4 c. virgin olive oil (“blood orange-infused”, if you have it)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. orange extract
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 TBS. dried lavender flowers*
  • zest of one orange (blood orange if available)

PREPARATION

1. Beat the first five ingredients until light and creamy: > 1 stick butter > 1/4 tsp. salt > 1/4 c. virgin olive oil > 1/4 c. sugar > 1/2 tsp. orange extract

2. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, stirring together until just blended: > 2 c. flour > 1 TBS. dried lavender flowers* > zest of one orange

3. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 6” log or square-shaped cylinder; wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or more. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap and cut each log into 1/4″ to 1/3” thick slices. Place on baking sheet, bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes or so. Let cool, serve with coffee or tea!

* Make your own “dried lavender flowers” by removing blossoms from some fresh lavender. Set on paper towel and microwave on lowest power setting, for a few minutes, until dry. Or, wrap string around a lavender bouquet, hanging upside-down for a few days to air-dry, removing dried blossoms afterward.

Posted in 8. Desserts, Recipes, Video Recipes | Tagged , | 4 Responses

Tomato Tart: Skip Mayo, Make w/Real Ingredients!

I had an exceptional tomato tart at a friend’s house. It was such a treat. I suspected it had mayo in it- when my friend told me it was a Paula Deen recipe, I knew I was right! But I wanted to make something like it for a tea party in the garden. I skipped the mayo. They were really good!

Make these tomato tarts using olive oil, cream, and egg in place of the mayonnaise that’s often used. For simplicity, Parmesan is handy- it’s already grated! But other cheeses could be substituted. Makes 24 tartlets, for 8-12 servings.

Tomato Tartlets w/No Mayo!INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 2/3 cold butter, sliced into pieces
  • 2-3 TBS. cold water
  • 1 pt. pear cherry tomatoes
  • 1 c. Parmesan
  • 1/4 c.  olive oil
  • 1/4 c. cream
  • 1 scant tsp. salt
  • 1 egg

PREPARATION

1. For dough, process the following in a food processor just until crumbly: > 1 1/2 c. flour > 2/3 c. cold butter, sliced into pieces

2. With motor running, quickly add, mixing just until blended: > 2-3 TBS. cold water

3. Let tartlet dough “rest” in refrigerator for an hour or so for easier handling, then press into tart pans.

4. After pressing into tart pans, freeze for up to a week if necessary. Or just refrigerate 20 minutes or so, before baking. Bake empty shells at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. (Frozen shells may take a bit longer.) Let cool.

5. Put a dab of Dijon mustard in bottom of each baked crust. Use: > Scant 1 TBS. Dijon

6. Slice a small bit off top and bottom of pear cherry tomatoes (so they’ll lay in tart shell); cut each tomato in half. Add one piece of the tomato to each tart shell. Use: > 12 pear cherry tomatoes

7. Mix together until smooth: > 1 c. Parmesan > 1/4 c.  olive oil > 1/4 c. cream > scant 1 tsp. salt > 1 egg

8. Add a dollop of the egg mix on top of the tomatoes in each shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden. When cool enough to handle, remove from tart pans and serve warm or room temperature.

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Grin & Bear It (Proudly) w/Natural Dental Care & Toothpaste

Maybe our teeth are the “tip of the iceberg”, reflecting health (or lack of it). My story seems to suggest that!

Baking Soda and Coconut Oil Toothpaste

Over ten years ago, in my forties, my body was slowing falling apart (undiagnosed hypothyroid). I didn’t know what was wrong, but I had a list of what wasn’t right. Now my mouth was going to join that list of bodily woes–my gums were falling apart.

My dentist had filled a cavity that had appeared on the side of my tooth, near the gum. A short time later, that area of my gum started blistering (bleeding and pus included, ew). The dentist sent me to a gum specialist, who told me she needed to remove the filling I’d just gotten, so that she could perform some thousands-o-dollars gum surgery.

THIS was being told to the small business owner who had no dental insurance, and who was not making a whole lotta money! I did not like that idea.

THEN I found out about the hypothyroid. I started taking Armor Thyroid, and suddenly felt better than I’d felt in years (like, thirty!). Before taking the thyroid supplement, I had been thinking this was just what getting old felt like. Once my thyroid started working again, I discovered what feeling normal was like, and it was WAY better feeling than I’d felt in years.

So… I suspected that the gum issue was just another part of the whole thyroid problem. I suspected that my gums might start healing naturally, now that I’d begun to address (not the symptom) the CAUSE of my troubles.

I was right! My gums got WAY better. And now, I’m determined to keep ‘em that way. I’m using a little activated charcoal to brighten my teeth on occasion, and I’m brushing with homemade toothpaste (see easy recipe below).

I worked up the recipe below after reading Denise Minger’s article about her experiences. A long-term raw vegan diet gave her horrible dental problems. Because of the acidity of her mouth and body on that diet, the health of her teeth and gums suffered.It makes sense that the toothpaste below (and the activated charcoal), in causing a more alkaline condition, would be ideal for dental health.

Homemade Toothpaste

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. baking soda
  • 20 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 10 drops myrrh extract (if available)

Ideally, coconut oil should be warm enough to stir- not too solid, but not all melted either (or the baking soda will just sink to the bottom). Mix the other ingredients into the oil, stirring with a fork. Add everything to a jar; use a small amount to brush teeth. Cheaper, better, more natural!

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