whole foods and beyond....nourishing the body, spirit and soul

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

old world lentil soup

though my feet walk in the modern world, my heart beats in the old world. oh those two words are just so magical to me! day dreaming of ancient traditions and wisdom being passed down the generations, living by the seasons, breathing air not polluted by toxins, collecting clean water from a fresh flowing spring….

back in the modern world (sigh)….. but lucky me, growing up of greek heritage, i was mesmerized listening to my grandparents and their friends tell many stories of the old world era they grew up in. their words melded together to paint the magic of the simpler life, residing in the beauty of the greek countryside. most stories were complete with detailed recollections of ocean breezes, village donkeys, and of course, the best food the world has to offer!

our family vacation to greece in  2014 transported us back in time, to the original settings of my grandparent's stories!

overlooking my grandfather's village, kardymila

walking the streets of my grandmother's village, nehori

unfortunately, by the time i took an interest in cooking, my grandmother was not well enough to be in the kitchen passing along her secrets of the old world. i was beyond thrilled when i got an opportunity in my early twenties to cook side by side with my sister's mother in law, a greek immigrant who grew up in a very small rural village on the island of rhodes. the traditions, wisdom and secrets i had been looking for were passed along so generously from her to me, as we spent an entire day cooking through  multiple traditional greek recipes. this memory guides me through many cooking ventures in my kitchen today and is evident in this recipe. for instance, in my teenage years, food network always taught me to add fresh herbs at the *end* of cooking, yet you will notice the fresh herbs in this recipe are cooked in the soup from the very beginning- a trick i learned that day that adds a rich depth flavor.

my husband picking grapes from the vine in rhodes at my brother-in-law's parent's house

though convenience is the anthem of our modern culture, i learned to slow things down and enjoy the process as we did everything from scratch that day in the kitchen. not only was the food phenomenal from slowly coaxing the flavors out, but it was nutrient dense as all the ingredients were local and our grains were given time to soak, as the lentils are in this soup as well. soaking and sprouting grains (legumes, nuts and seeds etc) is a lost tradition, that is not only necessary to obtain the nutrients, but so easy, you'll question why our society has ditched it! to learn more, find my article on sprouting at postmodernhood blog. 

slow your pace a little, and connect to ancient traditions as you prepare this nourishing soup. your reward for the wait will be so worth it…intense flavor and robust health!

old world lentil soup

*part 1*
1 bag dry lentils
filtered water
2 tbs apple cider vinegar (or sea salt, whey, lemon juice etc to break down enzyme inhibitors)

*part 2*
3 tbs olive oil
4 carrots
4 stalks celery
1 yellow pepper
1 onion
1 bunch fresh parsley 
5 cloves garlic
1 c dry red wine
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tbs sea salt
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes 
filtered water (use homemade bone broth if you've got it, for added flavor and nutrients!)
4 c fresh kale, de-stemmed and chopped

**part 1**
*pour lentils in a glass bowl and pour enough filtered water to cover two inches above them. stir in apple cider vinegar, cover and let sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours.

**part 2**
*drain and rinse the soaked lentils. set aside.
*in a large pot heat the olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. dice the celery, carrots, pepper and onion.
*when oil is heated, add the diced vegetables and sautée for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
*when vegetables have softened, rough chop the parsley and add it to the pot. using a small cheese grater, grate in the garlic. stir well, and cook for two minutes.
*add the red wine. stir well to deglaze the bottom of the pot.
*stir in the can of tomatoes, bay leaf, salt and red pepper flakes. add enough filtered water to cover everything by an inch and bring to a boil.
*cover and reduce heat to low. simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
*15 minutes before serving, de-stem and chop the kale. stir into the soup, and cover.
*pour in bowls and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to serve.
*this keeps well in the fridge and you'll notice that the flavors even enhance as they get a chance to marry.

nourish yourself…old world style!

Friday, November 6, 2015

apple butter muffins

i love the seasonal foods of autumn! 
the way they warm you up and make you feel cozy is just magical, isn't it?!

i am so blessed to have found an amazing organic farmer in our area, whom i now call friend. once a week i make the drive through winding country roads out to her beautiful property to pick up eggs, meat and milk. this simple routine already makes my heart so full, but on top of that she's always sending me home with the latest homemade treats from her country kitchen, to really make my soul feel nourished!

oh this apple butter!!!

slow cooked in her crockpot with just the right blend of subtle sweetness and warming spice, this jar had me thinking of a million different ways to eat it,  just shy of digging in with a spoon! 

after mixing it into oatmeal and eating it spread on sourdough english muffins, i decided the perfect vehicle for this delicious concoction would be a light grain free muffin. of course store bought apple butter will give you that cozy november feeling too... 

apple butter muffins

5 eggs 
1/2 c unsweetened apple sauce
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 c coconut flour
1/4 c butter, melted
3 tbs honey
3 tbs cinnamon
2 tbs vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

1/4 c apple butter
1 egg yolk

don't forget to instagram! #MyNourishedVibes

*preheat oven to 400 degrees.
*in a small bowl whisk together apple butter and egg yolk. set aside.
*in a medium bowl mash banana.
*mix in eggs, apple sauce, butter and honey until well combined.
*add rest of "muffin" ingredients and stir well.
*let rest five minutes.
*fill greased muffin tin 3/4 of the way full.
*bake muffins for 10 minutes.
*take out of the oven and use a spoon to make a small indent in the center of each muffin. fill each indent with about a tsp of apple butter mixture.
*return to oven for 4 to 6 minutes.
*allow to cool completely before removing from pan.

these are absolutely amazing! for the ultimate TREAT YO SELF situation, try these alongside

Thursday, November 5, 2015

starbucks copycat salted carmel mocha

this recipe has *saved* me from my starbucks addiction. literally, i am liberated! you see, i can know all the horrors of starbucks…that their milk contains hormones, pesticides and even pus, and that their coffee beans are not "gourmet", but are loaded with mold and mycotoxins and dear lord, don't even get me started on the bottle of cancer they call flavored syrup! but yes, knowing all those things, i could still see the starbucks sign and go "oh coffee!!", and be in line to order my grande iced carmel latte before you could blink. 

i'm sorry, but my afternoons just *need* an iced latte. this was a weekly habit, dare i say it, sometimes even daily habit for me, for almost three years. yikes!!! but i'm not gonna tell you that this coffee recipe is nourishing. because, well, sometimes i just want a latte, and in order for me to be making it myself and not ordering from starbucks, it better be the best drink i can imagine! 

so, to achieve the perfect carmel flavor that mimics starbucks, i use poison, i mean, butterscotch chips. they blend completely smooth in this drink and offer a rich flavor that i find the store bought syrups just don't. if you've got the time, go all out and make homemade carmel so you can be sure it is chemical free. if not, lets just go for balance here, and realize at this point the game is really more like "pick your poison." and for now, i am ok with that. because by choosing other quality ingredients i am certainly consuming a lot less chemicals than if i were standing in that starbucks line…..and saving loads of money too!

every day after my morning mug of nourishing coffee i pour the extra brew from my french press into a glass and store in the fridge. this way the coffee is waiting on me, making it that much more convenient to whip up my latte at home!

starbucks copycat
salted carmel mocha

1 c strong brewed coffee
3 tbs grassfed butter
2 1/2 tbs butterscotch chips (or carmel syrup)
1 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 tsp grassfed collagen
dash sea salt

*if coffee was stored in fridge, gently warm on low heat for easier blending.
*pour all ingredients in blender and blend on high until smooth.
*fill your cup to the top with ice, and *slowly* pour drink in. (pouring too quickly will melt the ice a little too much, thus watering down your precious latte.)
*sprinkle the sea salt on top.
*drink up!

Monday, October 26, 2015

chicken broth

>> fall is in the air<<

 i'm so ready for the newness of the season! when were not getting our cozy fix with things like my pumpkin spice muffins, were warming up with a nourishing mug of bone broth! one of my favorite ancient traditions to bring into our modern world, is the routine use of bone broth. as i have said before, *every single traditional culture*, had their own recipes for bone broth! this practice  ensures that all the  nutrients found inside the bones, ligaments and organs of the animal do not go to waste.

there are many different ways to prepare bone broth, using whatever meat, vegetables and herbs you have available.  the most important thing is to choose organic meat, since conventionally grown livestock are swarming with toxins due to factory farming, improper diet, antibiotics, hormone injections etc… the basic steps are simple and in essence, the liquid created is a very high concentration of vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbed during digestion, making it a "superfood" that should be consumed daily. the high gelatin content is soothing to the digestive tract, offering restorative healing to the often forgotten organ, our intestines.

mmmm can you smell those flavors bubbling away?!

i have found the perfect rhythm to keeping my deer pack well fed on broth. every two weeks i buy one whole organic chicken. it usually costs right around twenty dollars. if the cost were less than this, i would certainly buy once a week, as i did while living in germany. but for now, forty dollars a month seems just right. each time i make broth, after i strain the liquid, i gather the extra bones and freeze them. this bag of frozen bones will be added to my next batch of broth. it is said that you can actually obtain nutrients from the bones until they crumble. so to make sure that each batch i make has optimal nutrients and flavor, with out having to buy two whole chickens for each batch, one whole fresh chicken and one set of bones will cook together. i know we are getting deeply nourished, and the flavor can't be beat!! 

my fresh chicken and previously frozen bones getting to know eachother

my favorite days are when broth is simmering away in my crockpot, filling my home with the cozy scent of crisp autumn breezes. i can hardly wait to open the lid and ladle out a big mug to sip! as traditional societies used broth as the base for soups, sauces, and grains, i do too, but nothing will beat drinking it straight! i love to stir in an organic raw egg yolk, and a tablespoon of grassfed butter…and listen to my body thank me for choosing true awesomeness ;)

chicken broth

whole organic chicken
frozen bones from previously cooked chicken (see above)
3 tbs raw apple cider vinegar
3 stalks celery
3 carrots
1 bunch parsley
1 head garlic
1 onion
1 apple
1 bay leaf
1 tbs sea salt
filtered water

*remove whole chicken from packaging and rinse. place in crockpot along with frozen bones.
*rinse all vegetables/herbs and chop in half. i like to leave the skin on the apple, onion and garlic. toss in the crockpot.
*add bay leaf and salt.
*pour in filtered water until everything is covered.
*add vinegar and place the lid on. let sit for thirty minutes before turning the heat on as the vinegar begins to draw nutrients out of the bones.
*turn crock pot on lowest setting and allow to cook for 12 to 24 hours. (as foam rises to the top during the first few hours of cooking, scoop this out and discard, as these are impurities.)
*strain and discard vegetables.
*seperate meat from bones. i love using the meat to make chicken salad with my traditional mayonnaise
*freeze the bones in a ziploc bag to save for next batch. finally, store broth in the refrigerator in a covered container. (the fat will rise to the top making it easy to skim off when you're ready to use. as long as this layer is intact protecting the broth from air, it will keep for six months. when fat layer is broken, it will keep for one week.)

 bone broth is truly the magical tonic missing from our modern world. if you haven't started already, add this nutrient dense liquid to your diet and see what you have been missing out on!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

nourishing chocolate mousse pie

one supplement i try to sneak into our diet around every corner, is gelatin. to learn why, you can read my post about the amazing benefits of grass fed gelatin, and why it's so vital to our health. we reap the benefit of gelatin and many other nutrients by drinking our  bone broth regularly. along with that, fun treats like this one utilize the silky, whipped texture gelatin offers, while nourishing our bodies….and our sweet tooth too!

you know i like to go big…i topped this pretty lady with some homemade ice cream for extreme decadence!

im a lover of real food. i'm a lover of chocolate. and most important, i'm a lover all things mousse. 

this is what happens when my sweet tooth wins…caramel drizzle!!! and sea salt of course!

nourishing chocolate mousse pie

1 1/2 c almond flour
3/4 c grassfed butter, melted (coconut oil can be substituted for dairy free version)
1 tbs coconut sugar
dash sea salt

#dessertgoals. light, airy and whipped texture.

1 can organic coconut milk
1 1/4 c dark chocolate chips
1/2 c soaked chia seeds (soak 1/2 tbs chia seeds in 1/2 c water until gelled)
1/4 c water
2 tbs grassfed gelatin
2 tbs coconut sugar
1 tbs vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt

combining my chocolate and coconut milk. i like to use ghiradelli brand.
*prepare the crust first. melt the butter and mix all ingredients together. grease an 8 inch pie plate or 8x8 baking dish. press crust in an even layer and bake on 350 for 12 minutes. allow to cool while preparing filling.
*in a double boiler, gently heat the coconut milk.
*add the chocolate chips and stir until chocolate is melted through. set aside.
*in a small bowl, combine the gelatin and water. set aside for five minutes for the gelatin to bloom.
*add all filling ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.
*pour over cooled crust.
*now the hardest part…chill for at least two hours before digging in!!

go ahead…make this masterpiece! don't forget to instagram and hashtag it #MyNourishedVibes before you devour it!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

benefits of consuming gelatin

 some of the things we eat on the regular at "la case de deering," like my traditional mayonnaise and my liberal use of grass fed butter, are scoffed at by many on the standard american diet. although we live in the "information age,"the rejection of these nutrient dense foods, in exchange for fake-toxic-food-like-substances, is all the more evidence that we are really living in the "great forgetting."

for the entire history of humankind, up until the last 200 years or so (which is like the blink of an eye on the time line) the goal of life was harmony and wellness for all, not the accumulation of green paper and the things it can give you. tribes passed along the information needed for robust health from generation to generation for thousands of years. this was our wealth. sadly as most of these indigenous cultures have been wiped off the face of the planet in the last 150 years (by genocide or assimilation to western civilization), much of the truths that should be simple, foundational basics to the human diet, have vanished with them. 

fortunately for us living in the modern world, so many of these truths were preserved in the book "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration," by Dr. Weston A. Price. you haven't read this book yet?! what are you waiting on??? as Dr. Price studied indigenous tribes all around the world in the early 1900s and meticulously documented their diet and lifestyle, he found one nutrient all tribes liberally consumed, despite their distance from one another and difference in local produce.

gelatin! what???….

yes, my friend, gelatin is a real food and is nutrient dense. no, i'm not talking about the little powered packets sold next to the jello, im talking about the nutrient found inside the organs, tissues and bones of livestock.  since our modern society does not consume these parts of the animal on a regular basis like our ancestors did, (great time to note, people groups living by ancient traditions were never vegan)  most americans are deficient in this nutrient. gelatin is mainly made up of the amino acids glycine and proline, which are needed for new cell growth (think hair, skin and nails!), and valuable immune strength.
some more benefits of consuming gelatin include:

>>source of collagen. collagen is too large to be absorbed by the skin, making it pointless in all the "anti winkle" and "anti aging" creams! our skin receives the anti-aging benefits of collagen by consuming gelatin internally.<<

>>contains specific amino acids that help build muscle.<<

>>supports the growth of skin, hair and nails.<<

>>aids in the reproduction of skin cells. it tightens loose skin, while preventing wrinkles and also causes scar tissue and wounds to heal faster<<

>>supports joint and bone strength.<<  

>>soothes the digestive tract, while aiding in regularity.<<

>>fights inflammation.<<

now that the vault of wisdom has been unlocked, and you know the benefits to consuming gelatin, let's talk game plan for getting this nutrient into you... 

eat organ meats:
organ meats from free range, humanely and organically raised animals not only contain gelatin but also vitamin k (necessary for other vitamins to enter the cells), and a host of minerals. if you're into "liver and onions," then go for it! if your squeamish like me, prepare these meats the way my sweet sister has done for me. ask your butcher to grind the organ meats up, and then you can mix them into other ground meat and season very liberally to cover up their strong taste.

supplement with grassfed gelatin powder:
gelatin powder is a convenient way in our modern world to obtain this nutrient. companies like "vital proteins" and "great lakes gelatin" are reputable companies that only create their gelatin from grass fed livestock, not chemicals like the packets found in the jello aisle. the bones and tissues of the animal are boiled to extract the nutrient, and then dried to create the powder. added to smoothies or other drinks, this adds a thicker texture. i add a tsp of this powder or the similar collagen powder to my version of bulletproof coffee every morning!

regularly consume bone broth:
on top of obtaining the incredible amount nutrients found in the organ meat, every single culture had their own recipe for bone broth. once the meat was consumed, the bones and "scraps" were added to water with a mix of herbs and vegetables. left to slowly boil, the nutrients then seeped into the liquid to create bone broth. this liquid can be drank straight (my favorite way!), used as the base for soups and sauces, or even used to cook grains.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

vegan "cheddar" flax crackers

i'm working over time ensuring my kids that store bought crackers are "yucky."

it's literally my full time job.

when words won't work, i just have to come up with a new recipe. thank god for the magic combination of red peppers and garlic! these two mixed together create an epic cheddar flavor…giving me one more weapon  to win the gold fish battle. 

simple ingredients with bold flavors

if you're in the mood for a sweeter cracker, find my recipe for cinnamon zucchini flax crackers here, as well as the reasons we try to avoid store bought crackers.

chia and flax seeds gelled together

red pepper and garlic blended smooth to create the tang of cheddar

vegan "cheddar" flax crackers

4 c spring water
2 c whole flax seeds, soaked
1 1/2 c ground flax seeds
2 tbs chia seeds, soaked
1 1/2 red bell pepper
5 cloves garlic
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp coconut oil
15 drops trace minerals (optional for added nutrients)

so cheddary! so crackery!

*place whole flax seeds, chia seeds and water in a big bowl. stir well and leave to soak for at least two hours. 
*when ready to prepare the rest of the recipe, blend red pepper, garlic and sea salt together until smooth, using just enough water to keep the blender moving.
*pour the pepper mixture into the gelled seeds and mix together. 
*slowly fold in the ground flax seeds, adding more if the mixture is too wet.
*grease a large baking sheet with the coconut oil (or prepare your dehydrator) and spread the "dough" in an even layer. turn the oven on the lowest setting and leave in the oven for 24 hours or until crackers are fully dry. half way through, i like to flip the dough upside down to help dry out quicker. 
*break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

**note: 24 hours is quite a long time to use up the oven! feel free to take these crackers out and do any other cooking you need to do, and then reset the oven and place them back in, without worry of messing them up!**



Saturday, September 26, 2015

tips for packing a nourishing lunch

hi, my name is eleni, and i'm addicted to bento box.
there's just something about these oh-so-perfect compartments, that i fall more in love with every day! my inner ocd dances as piece by piece the sections are filled to create a symphony of nourishment. lord help us all, my #ocdlife and #momlife have fully collided and there's no turning back! to watch this happen on the daily, follow me on instagram @mynourishedvibes.

homemade veggie spring rolls/blueberries/homemade elderberry gummies/terra veggie chips/ghiradelli dark chocolate chips/dye free pickles with fermented garlic

you know i love my labels!

feeding others is my love language, so as fall approached i got more and more excited to pack these lunches for my sweet dimitri. but i also got overwhelmed easily, questioning how i would have enough time, energy and creativity to offer him nutrient dense lunches every day. full gear into our routine, i offer you these tips i've discovered along the path.

1. timing
i hate doing anything last minute, so just the idea of making school lunches in the morning, stresses me out!  to keep it stress free, with time to intentionally choose each item, i always pack dimitri's lunches in the evening. with the momentum of dinner clean up still coursing though my veins, i reach for the yumbox and enjoy the task at hand as i fill each compartment.

2. left overs
as i start to fill the compartments of the masterpiece of artwork bento box, i almost always start with left overs from the dinner i just cleaned up after. on most nights our meal has a simple roasted vegetable in the line up, like my roasted butternut squash recipe. since i'm a planner, before dinner is even served, i'll stash a few roasted veggies to the side, so i know there will be enough left over.

3. fresh fruit and veggies
now that i've got dinner left overs checked off the list, i shop our fridge for fresh produce. we almost always have peppers, cucumbers and carrots. a quick chop and they're ready to get tossed in. if the stars align and i also have a dip, in she goes! at this time i also check my pantry for what nuts and dried fruits i can use.

4. freezer supply
i can not tell you enough how important those two words are! like for real. having a stash of homemade, nutrient dense foods in my freezer, gives me the convenience of packaged foods without all the damage. a few times a week ill do a little work to make sure things are stocked up. a fun baking session results in an ample supply treat-yo-self material. or an afternoon of a netflix marathon results in hundreds of stuffed spring rolls, or spanakopita, that i can bake a couple the morning of use. #winning

freshly baked mini pumpkin spice muffins and mini english muffins ready to freeze

5. fermented foods
my next slot to fill is small, but so important! check out my recent post over at PostModernhood to hear my love saga  reasons we eat fermented foods daily. since these foods contain probiotics that help digest your food, its important to eat them at every meal. dimitri has had fermented garlic (get my recipe here) each day because i seem to have an endless supply, and more importantly, the kid freakin' loves it! any fermented food will do, so go with what your kid likes.

fermented garlic/jalepeno/onion

6. store bought
now that i've put all my key players into the game, it's time to call in second string. i fill in the blanks using these items last and in the least amounts, because they are most "convenient" at the store, meaning they have little to no nutrients. some times this is a hard to digest white flour tortilla filled with better ingredients like veggies or peanut butter. and some times its gluten free pretzels (easier to find than gluten free tortillas), or dark chocolate chips. it doesn't matter what it is, if it's processed at all, the nutrients are removed. but since i am not perfect, and we live in a modern world, i just try to choose my best where we as a family should allow wiggle room with limited damage to our wellness.

i'm actually jealous dimitri gets to eat these everyday!

7. relax!
that's it! i'm done! and now i get to go put on my pjs….

show me your best nutrient dense lunch on instagram and hashtag it #MyNourishedVibes! 
See you there!