New Ways with Old Favorites

Years ago I was on a mission to feed my family better food. Personally I can eat many things that are good for me that other people would turn their noses up at. I have been referred to as “hard core” when it comes to health food. I don’t look at myself that way because after thirty-four years in the health food industry I have met people that make me look like a wannabe. Non-the-less, health food has been a priority in my life for many, many years. Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments of weakness like anyone else. Still, if it is considered healthy, I am probably going to give it a whirl. Over the years I have tried macrobiotics, vegetarian, blood type diet, raw, paleo, and, well you get the idea.

During those mission days while I was busy researching superfoods, healthier ingredients, different diet philosophies and so forth, I hit a snag. If it didn’t taste good, I don’t care how healthy it was, my kids were not going to touch it. Bammmm… right there in front of my face was a ginormous brick wall. Gone was my rose colored dream of my kids gliding into the kitchen with beaming faces begging me for some leafy green concoction laced with fermented vegetables, edible algae and schizandra berries.

I am not the Mom who lies to her child and says “Eat this it’s delicious,” knowing full well it tastes like sardines rolled up in dirty socks and dipped in cat litter. I also did not want mealtimes to be a battle (after all, stress is bad for your digestion!), and I could not throw out the somewhat pricey ingredients I had already committed to my pantry shelves. What’s a mother to do?

My solution? “New Ways with Old Favorites”. I was determined to make health food taste good. I wanted food that was nutritionally superior but that tasted great. Food that gave you the comfort of Mom’s home cooking but was packed with super nutritious ingredients. I wanted to make dishes that nourished the body and the soul but would be eaten and enjoyed by someone with normal taste buds. I needed to create recipes that my family and friends would relish and that I could stand in the back-round and smile, knowing what was in them and how good they really were for you.

I set off on my journey of transforming everyday recipes into nutrition powerhouses. I began slowly by replacing low quality ingredients with higher quality ones. I called this – Recipe Rescues.

It goes something like this:

Standard Ingredient Healthier Alternative

White flour Whole wheat or spelt flour

White sugar Honey, stevia, xylitol, coconut sugar

Processed oils Organic, cold-pressed oils

Table salt Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink salt

Standard soy sauce Wheat-free tamari, liquid aminos

Commercial produce Organic produce, locally grown in season

Granted these are small changes but to gain your family's acceptance, sometimes small is the place to start. With this in mind, here is a “New Favorite” of my families. I hope that it will become a favorite of yours!

Savory Stew

Move over canned soups, there’s a new kid in town and it’s taking the place by storm!

Truly one of my favorite meals, this is a recipe that is great as is or could be easily altered to include organic meat or one of the many great meat alternatives on the market today. Served with a salad and some crusty bread slathered with grass fed butter, it is always well received at my house by friends and family.

6 cups water

4 cups diced organic potatoes (cleaned with skins left on)

1 cup diced organic carrots

1 cup chopped organic celery

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup fresh or frozen organic corn

1 cup fresh or frozen organic peas

½ cup garbanzo bean flour

¼ cup extra virgin organic olive oil

3 tablespoons organic butter

3 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast

3 tablespoons tamari (or more according to personal taste preferences)

2 - 3 tablespoons arame seaweed, crumbled

2 bay leaves, whole

1 teaspoon dried basil, organic

½ teaspoon dried thyme, organic

½ teaspoon dried rosemary, organic

Place the water and vegetables in a large pot and cook until the vegetables are tender. Reduce heat to low, add the arame and bay leaves, cover and let simmer. Meanwhile, in a skillet melt the butter over medium/low heat. Add the olive oil and spices and warm slightly to release the fragrance of the spices. Add the garbanzo flour and sauté 2 – 3 minutes until the flour is lightly browned. Add the flour mixture to the pot with the vegetables and stir well. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Stir in the tamari and nutritional yeast. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

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