Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Smoky Parsnip & White Bean Potage

I'm all about potages. Come fall and winter, there is nothing heartier and more nutritious than a huge bowl of pureed vegetables. This week in our farm share, we got a huge supply of parsnips. With their delicate sweet flavor and pale yellow color, I thought white beans would compliment them well. To jazz up the mild flavor, I added a hint of spice and smokiness. I ate this with some baguette and smoked gouda cheese on the side...went so well together!

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

I'm sort of obsessed with my slow cooker. I just recently discovered this is possible after the classic New England Apple picking excursion this fall. Not only is this recipe jam packed with fiber, it is also delicious on breads, cakes, and in oatmeal. Try it out! (Note: I only have a 1 qt slow cooker, so you can adjust the recipe to the size of yours)

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

3 Cups assorted apples (soft ones such as Macintosh work best)
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon

1. Peel, core, and chop up the apples. Throw them into the slow cooker with a few Tbsp of water. Put lid on, turn on high and let them cook down.
2. When the apples seem to have the color and consistency of apple sauce ( this took about 3-4 hours for me) open up your slow cooker, mix up the apples to help them break down a bit further, and add the brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix these up, put the lid back on and let the apples cook for another few hours, or until it is very reduced and a dark brown color. Store in an airtight container or a mason jar.

Health Benefits!!
Apple- High fiber helps in digestion and aids in cleaning teeth naturally, helps to generally detoxify the body
Cinnamon-lowers blood sugar levels, increases insulin production helping prevent type 2 diabetes, has an anti-clotting effect on the blood, smelling cinnamon alone improves cognitive functioning, fights E.Coli bacteria, has been shown to alleviate headache 



Kale Basil Pesto

We've been getting so much kale in out farm share recently, if you're in the same predicament or just feel like improving the health benefits of your normal pesto without sacrificing flavor, try this out. Its great on pasta, in sandwiches or paninis...pretty much on anything!

Kale Basil Pesto

-2 Cups Curly Kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
-1 Cup fresh basil
-1/2 Cup pine nuts (or shelled sunflower seeds for a nutless version)
-2 Cloves of Garlic
-Olive Oil

1. Place curly kale, fresh basil, pine nuts/ sunflower seeds, and garlic in a food processor. Process a few times until everything is roughly chopped up.
2. Drizzle in olive oil while blending until the basil is smooth
3. Season to taste with salt and pepper

Health Benefits!
Kale- High in antioxidants to help prevent cancer and heart disease. High in calcium to encourage strong, healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions. High in vitamin C, Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, manganese, and potassium. 
Basil-  having a highly disinfecting property, basil can help reduce the symptom of fever, can give digestion relief due to certain components in the essential oil, boosts the immune system, and much more
Garlic- Contains allicin, an incredibly medicinal component, especially in raw garlic (like in this recipe!) Allicin can help prevent high blood pressure, aid in digestion, aid in inflammation reduction, help prevent and cure cold, and much much more!
Sunflower seeds- Sunflower seeds improve digestion, brain power and cardiovascular system; it is rich in magnesiumpotassium, selenium, zinc and iron.


Extra Gingery Gingerbread

Who'd of thought that classic, delicious gingerbread could actually be made into a healthy, and hearty dessert? Yes, its true that as with all baked goods, this should be eaten in moderation but if you slip up, don't worry! The health benefits of ginger and all the other spices in this recipe are through the roof. Try this super gingery version of the classic for breakfast, snack or dessert!

Extra Gingery Gingerbread

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or 1/4 vegetable oil & 1/4 cup applesauce)
3/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tbs fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a nonstick 8.5x 4.5x 2.5 in loaf pan. 
2. Mix together all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add in the crystallized ginger and raisins and stir into flour mixture.
3. Add in the oil, molasses, sugar, egg, fresh grated ginger and vanilla extract. Mix until well incorporated into the dry ingredients. 
4. Add 1/2 cup boiling water directly into the batter and stir until completely incorporated. 
5. Pour into prepared loaf pan, and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, and let sit til cool before digging in.

Health Benefits!!
Ginger- relieves nausea and indigestion, prevents motion sickness, may help morning sickness, antispasmotic  properties help relieve cramps, useful in helping arthritis, can reduce cholesterol levels in blood, and it is an aphrodisiac ;-)
Cloves- warming and stimulating effect of the body, can relieve nausea and vomiting, fights against oral diseases, boosts immune system, has antimicrobial properties, and is -also- an aphrodisiac
Cinnamon- lowers blood sugar levels, increases insulin production helping prevent type 2 diabetes, has an anti-clotting effect on the blood, smelling cinnamon alone improves cognitive functioning, fights E.Coli bacteria, has been shown to alleviate headache  
Blackstrap Molasses- Yes, a sweetener that is GOOD for you! Unrefined and delicious, blackstrap molasses is a great source of iron (2 tsp provides you with a wopping 13% of your daily intake), it is also high in calcium (2 tsp will provide you with almost 12% of your daily intake). Also a good source of copper and manganese. 

The A to Z Guide to Healing Herbal Remedies, Jason Elias and Selagh Ryan Masline