The C Word

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowHow much energy do you have to expend to refrain from having more than a portion?  I recall  two comments from friends I knew long before Suppers. One said that dieting was a full time job. The other said that she would consider it a year well spent if she did nothing but lose 40 pounds.

Some people who feel addicted to specific foods feel out of control when they have any. It takes a huge amount of energy and control to keep the genie in the bottle if you actually have an addictive relationship with an ingredient.   

In Alice’s story, control was a big issue and it bled into all parts of her life. She couldn’t relax about anything until she fixed her way of eating.


Alice’s Story: The C Word

After years of attending one of the 12-step programs, I have come to think of control as the C Word. To compensate for having no control in one area of my life, I tried to control just about everything else. I was frazzled, pushy, cranky, and difficult to please. I was also a big manipulator, and the things I manipulated most were my own moods and energy level. My tools were coffee, cocoa, candy, bread, cookies, and wine. The automatic choices I made were all about seeking comfort for an outrageously uncomfortable body. Every day started with a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate served to me in my bed by my husband. The jolt got me going. From there I raced through the day, trying to set up play dates and TV time for my kids for the moments when I wanted to sequester myself with a treat or protect them from  my foul mood. I had no tolerance for noise or even too much light. The slightest stimulation would set me off.

This went on for years. 

“Come here!” “Don’t do that.” “Close the door!” “Pull down the shade!” “Turn that off.” “Stop whining!” I was always barking orders. And if they didn’t cooperate I became mean. This went on for years. It never occurred to me until I heard about appropriate control that a healthy person could control their children in loving and effective ways. Maybe I could too, once relieved of the grip of food on my mood.

I stayed off everything for a week…And then the testing started. 

There was only one way to do it: change. I had to observe how I felt on each of my favorite mood manipulators and decide if it went on my “never” list or my “sometimes” list. The way I knew which list to put it on was how hard I had to control myself if I had a little bit. I warned everybody I knew that Cold Turkey Day was coming. I stayed off everything for a week and managed not to kill myself or anybody else. And then the testing started. If a sip or a bite led to ten, it had to go. If I enjoyed it but I had no big reaction it was OK. The big players turned out to be anything with corn, caffeine, white flour, and chocolate. These things made me nutty for more. Over time, the healthier I got, the sicker I felt when I cheated and ate them. It was nice that I could have some ice cream and wine, and I was able to cut them in half without feeling sorry for myself.

I’m still cautious about the C Word. 

The big difference these eliminations made in my life was that I wasn’t trying to control everybody else into maintaining a quiet, bland, stimulation-deprived environment for me. I didn’t have to; I was sleeping better and my personal biology no longer required it.

I’m still cautious about the C Word. I never want to go back to the rigid, frazzled person I was. Now when I yell at the kids to turn down the blasted music, it’s because they’re teenagers and it really is too loud.


Calming The Control Freak Inside for Alice, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081I don’t wanna make any generalizations here but somehow I feel like the Suppers Concept of Automatic Choices very commonly circles around sugar. Dessert. Things that are sweet. Great, now I want chocolate and it’s not even 8am. The rationale there is that carbohydrates are so particularly desired by the body that when introduced to refined carbohydrates, the brain turns into a kid in a candy store. Literally.

Have you ever tried making an artichoke omelet? 

Last week we talked about the six tastes, why they are important, how to balance them, and how to better appreciate them. This week let’s keep that in mind as we learn how to make a health-supportive dessert that explodes on the palate just like your favorite naughty sweets.

You guys, cooking is about relationships. Every different food has a different disposition, requires different things. Sometimes foods don’t get along with other foods. Have you ever tried making an artichoke omelet? WELL DON’T. DON’T EVER EVER DO THAT. It ends up looking…horrifyingly gray. Something about iron. Have you ever tried marinating meat in pineapple? WELL DON’T. DON’T EVER EVER EVER DO THAT. It ends up with a mushy, mealy texture. Something about enzymes.

…go ahead and thank the Europeans for exploding dessert in extravagance

Cooking is about relationships between foods and our bodies, too. Each person has a different body and we all have our own biochemical needs. Additionally, foods have their own nutritive compounds and they offer to us different combinations of nutrients. There may be some biological inconsistencies there (your trigger foods or inflammatory foods) but there are more similarities. So let’s talk dessert.

Health-supportive desserts rely heavily on nourishing ingredients – like fruit, for example. Ingredient choice is really all you have going for you. “Dessert” before dessert was invented consisted of fruit, nuts, and honey. When cheese was discovered (yes, discovered) she got to join the party too. We can go ahead and thank the Europeans for exploding dessert into extravagance but for our purposes let’s just focus on how we can amp up the nutrition. Europe has enough to deal with these days.

These ingredients pack the most nutrition into the smallest package.

Trudy Schafer was one of my chef professors from Bauman, who got her Masters in Nutrition after becoming a chef. I was always in awe of her ridiculously ginormous brain. She always said super knowledgeable things like they were just commonplace like she was saying “well you know cause paint is wet” but REALLY she was saying things like “well we’ll just add some lime to complete the protein.” And I was like….”uhhhh right!” I should have asked her more questions and acted dumber, maybe I would have learned more. Anyway the point is, Trudy used to say that if a person is just getting started transitioning their diet and they only want to make one change, have them add fresh herbs and spices. These ingredients pack the most nutrition into the smallest package. Trudy also specialized in cooking for people with cancer – you know, that other C word – who can’t consume that much volume. So. Again. Herbs.

Let’s consider these moving parts we’re dealing with:

  • Dessert
  • Health
  • Herbs
  • Other Nutritionally PACKED Ingredients 

Shall we?


Dessert Pesto

What? What did she say? Pesto?? Sweet pesto?? GROSS! No, you’re wrong – it’s AMAZING. Top an almond flour shortbread or a slice of a plain peach with the tiniest dollop of this stuff and your kitchen god/goddess value shoots up like a rocket ship. Before I toe the line of building this up too much, let’s just make it.

Step One: Prep your herbs. If you just want to use basil for this, that’s fine. However, in my experience making this particular dish, it’s good to add some other sweet heavy hitters like:

  • Thyme
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Lemon Balm
  • Thai Basil
  • Mint (Use Sparingly)
  • Pineapple Sage

There are more. To keep it very simple let’s just use basil today. After all, the basil season in New Jersey is fleeting and must be appreciated.

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Step Two: Gather your other ingredients. Replace each one like this:

Pine Nuts — Choose From: Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Cashews, Almonds
Garlic — Eliminate entirely. Nobody wants garlic in their dessert pesto
Lemon — Keep the lemon and don’t forget the zest
Olive Oil — Coconut oil, don’t forget to melt it
Sea Salt — Just a dash
Add some honey to sweeten things up to taste and you’re ready to spin. 

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Secret Tip: Don’t put the nuts in first, put the herbs in first. The nuts are heavy and when the processor turns on, they’ll make their way down there. It’s more difficult for the light herbs to get down to the blade without your help. 

Oh, right. That’s all! You’re done.


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Dessert Pesto

4-5 cups herbs (*Asterisk means use sparingly): Basil, Thai Basil, Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, *Mint, Pineapple Sage, Lavender, *Rose Geranium
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1-2 cups nuts: Cashews, Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Pecans
3-5 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus some to taste
2 Tablespoons honey (*optional)

1. Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend. Chunky dessert pesto is good for topping sorbet and fruit dishes, smooth dessert pesto is good for piping and fillings or toppings for almond lemon shortbread and other gluten free cookies.
2. Balance flavor with sea salt, lemon juice, and honey if necessary. Stores up to 5 days in refrigerator. Freezes like a champ.


Happy Pesto making!!! This closes out June, our Parenting month at The Purple Apron! 

If you are a member of the Suppers Moms and Dads Facebook group and want to submit a story of your successes and failures at the dinner table with the kids – send in a story to Dor! We will have future months offering Parenting stories so share yours today! 

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

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Blueberries That Taste Like Candy

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowAre blueberries pivotal?  It’s been a while since I read Violet’s story.  But since Allie selected it for the blog, I re-read “Blueberries that Taste Like Candy” and marveled that another child had had a transformational experience with blueberries.

There seems to be a pattern here:
Child doesn’t like healthy food.
Mother at her wit’s end with child.
Mother and child pitted against each other. Blueberries save the day.

Blueberry season is upon us. What better way to confidently, lovingly, unswervingly draw a line in the sand. The future of your family’s palate and the financial backbone of the nation may turn when all other food disappears and the only thing left is a box of “delishush” blueberries.

Violet’s Story: Blueberries That Taste Like Candy

It took more than a year to transition.

At my first Suppers meeting, we participated in a workshop that explained how addictive the standard American diet is. In the U.S. we have easy access to affordable, highly processed foods. The facilitator explained how eating processed foods provides a diet high in sugar, salt, and fat, which destabilizes blood sugar and causes cravings for unhealthy foods and excessive weight gain. We also learned that making dietary changes and eating more whole foods will not only improve health, but can also improve how you feel physically and emotionally. My family has many of the problems that Suppers is designed to help. We have problems with alcohol on both sides, depression, anxiety, and struggles with weight. I had no idea that these things are all connected and that the common thread is what we eat.

The facilitator said we might be surprised how taste buds change after a period of time without lots of sugar in our diet.

As curious and as hopeful as I was going into this meeting, I was equally overwhelmed and lost when it was over. We had talked about nutritional harm reduction, which is a conscious and steady effort to slowly reduce and eliminate unhealthy foods. But I shuddered to think about what my kids might do if I tried to take away their favorite snacks. There’d be war on Main Street!

The facilitator said we might be surprised how taste buds change after a period of time without lots of sugar in our diet. A dad in our group told the story of how he had a long illness and had not eaten much for weeks. When he felt better he ate some blueberries. He said they actually tasted like candy! His story gave me hope that if I started taking gentle steps with my children, their taste buds would change incrementally and eventually help them enjoy eating what is good for them.

“These are delishush.”

It took more than a year to transition. My family resisted my efforts: the kids complained, my husband lost his temper, and everyone needled me to bring back the treats. Even though I felt like giving up, I continued to make changes; I threw away a box of cookies, made fruit and raw veggies available for snacking, substituted baked sweet potato “fries” for white potatoes fried in oil, and refused to give in when the kids whined for candy bars in the grocery store. Then one day I handed my son a box of blueberries for his snack and he tossed a big handful in his mouth and said, “These are delishush.” Normally, I would have said, “Don’t talk with your mouth full, please.” Instead I smiled.

When I was frantic about my family’s health, Suppers offered me a different but achievable task. Group support was critical. I also needed to experience that “hatching chick” moment; the moment before which nothing can change and after which nothing can stay the same. That happened for me the day I could imagine blueberries that taste like candy.


Bitter Greens Before Blueberries For Violet’s Kids, By Allie

Before you can understand the blueberry you must first understand the brain and the bud. The tastebud.

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Taste This

There are six tastes, currently. Six flavors. A flavor is not so much how it tastes in this case but a biological reaction to a food. The receptors on our tongue – tastebuds – are responsible for identifying the potential nutrients in a food and telling our brains and other relevant organs what to do in their presence.

SWEET foods contain carbohydrates, or energy, and this is the first flavor the tongue experiences (think breastmilk) and therefore becomes accustomed to – for the obvious reason that there is no life without energy. In a similar sense, digestion of carbohydrates begins in the mouth and lets the pancreas know that it needs to be ready for Insulin production and distribution.

SALTY foods offer the essential nutrient, Sodium. This nutrient may sound scary because doctors tell you to watch it but that doesn’t mean you don’t need any at all. Sodium regulates and moves water around in the body, addresses blood volume, balances Potassium, and helps with nerve functioning. In modern times, however, sodium is found in nearly every processed food (because salt brings out the natural flavor in foods) and even in over-the-counter medications. Always try to get the purest salts you can find.

SOUR is the bright, acidic flavor found in vinegar, citrus fruit, and tart juices. These foods can zap the tastebuds, sometimes in a shocking way (think babies tasting lemon wedges) and, long ago, could have alerted the tongue to a poisonous food. Since then we have been able to study and differentiate what is a good “shock” and what is a bad “shock” and have found that vinegars, fermented foods, and citrus fruits are some of the most nutrient rich foods on the planet. 

UMAMI is the tongue’s detection of protein so it is found in seared meats and foods with depth like mushrooms. Proteins are the building blocks of our muscles, every hormone and enzyme in the body is also a protein, and when we run out of carbohydrates to process, protein is there. Umami is a mild flavor – even at high concentrates – and wasn’t discovered until the early 20th century by a Japanese chemist who noticed that Dashi, a broth, had a little more going on than salty, sour, or sweet.

BITTER is a nuanced flavor as well. Humans have about 30 genes coded just to detect bitter flavors as an evolutionary response to toxins. Omnivores and herbivores have to get really good at telling which plants are poisonous and which are not, so our tongue has evolved to separate and notice bitter flavors the way we notice sour flavors. The more experience the tongue has with bitter flavors the more the tongue can detect other flavors.

FAT is the most recently discovered flavor. It may be difficult to comprehend that fat is a “taste” but know this: the moment the tastebuds detect fat on the tongue, the gallbladder wakes up and starts dealing with bile production and distribution. Fat is also responsible, in a culinary sense, for carrying other tastes over the tongue with its silky richness.

Flavor Friends

In terms of flavor balancing, Bitter and Sweet balance each other out. So, for example, if you have a kale salad and would like to cut the bitterness slightly, you can make a dressing sweetened with a dash of honey or some orange juice. Flavor balancing is all about the palate – both what flavors compliment each other in an external sense (like Bitter/Sweet) but also how the person’s palate responds to flavor.

Same thing with Sour and Salty flavors. Did you just oversalt that dish? Don’t fret, just add some lemon juice or another acid and tame the salt. If you overdid it on the lemon juice, sprinkle some salt to bring other flavors (besides lemon) forward.

You can retune your OWN palate…

Have you ever heard someone say “Well, your tastebuds change every seven years,” or something like that. They’re not wrong but it’s not a whole picture. In fact, our tastebuds can “change” much faster than that and cell production isn’t part of that – THE ONE WITH THE POWER IS YOU!

Yes, you heard me correctly. You can retune your OWN palate to be more sensitive to the flavors of real foods. The processed food industry has a monopoly on salt/sweet/fat – these flavors are the most basic ones, the most desirable ones, the most biologically recognizable ones. They’re the easy ones.

Bitter, sour, umami – these are more difficult to detect, more covert, more “unpalatable” and that’s what makes them so important. Tongues oversaturated with the monopolized easy flavors need a good cleansing to be able to truly appreciate the difficult flavors.

The best way to appreciate a blueberry is to learn to appreciate greens. 

So how do you fix your tired, sad, monopolized tongue? How do you take back control of your tastebuds? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: concentrate on bitter and sour flavors. If Bitter balances Sweet it doesn’t mean the two are at odds with each other – it means the two understand each other. The best way to appreciate a blueberry is to learn to appreciate greens. It’s no wonder blueberries taste like candy after concentrating on the difficult flavors for awhile! It’s both more like the actual blueberry flavor and it’s a sweet relief for your more nuanced tongue too.

We’re going to ease into this process by making a delicious Suppers Friendly Spinach Pie. I went a little nuts in the kitchen yesterday because it was my anniversary and I was trying to make a one-dish-dinner that tasted as delicious as possible.

Spoiler alert, it passed the “Delishush” test with flying colors. Here’s how I did it.


Step One: In a traditional Spanakopita, the greens are cooked first by themselves and then squeezed. I would start there because it takes awhile for them to cool down enough to be able to handle. I used collards from Dor’s garden to compliment my lovely baby spinach and to turn up the bitter note.

Chiffonade the collards by de-stemming them, rolling them up (AGAINST the spine, NOT with the spine – see above) and slicing into 1-inch strips.

Then saute over low heat for 5-7 minutes. Even though they’re collards they do not need the everything cooked out of them.

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Once done and cooled, squeeze out all the moisture and set aside.

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Step Two: Flavor, flavor, flavor. What’s the foundation of flavor? Say it with me: ONION. Your choice. I did a large sweet Vidalia onion and three garlic scapes.

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Hey, do you know what a garlic scape is? They’re in season RIGHT NOW and they’re basically a delicacy – once they’re gone, they’re not back until next year.
Each garlic plant sends out just one scape per season. The scape is the reproductive part of the garlic plant. Farmers snap them off so that the garlic plant will continue to focus on the bulb and will NOT focus on making garlic babies. Reproduction can be very distracting.

They taste like garlic but are a little sweeter. Awesome grilled. Great in pestos.

Step Three: What’s a spinach pie without a crust?! To keep things Suppers Friendly, we are doing a crust which is essentially Dor’s Almond Crackers but we’re adding some eggs to keep everything together.

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Does it form a ball? Can it hold its shape? Then you’re good.

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First slice the ball in half and then roll out JUST ONE half. Don’t laugh at my rolling pin, my wooden rolling pin is at work and, besides, it’s a good tip.

Press the other half of the dough into the bottom of a greased 9 X 13 glass baking dish.

Step Four: The filling. Saute onions, garlic scapes, add chicken thighs, shiitake mushrooms (I know, this is where I was going nuts) a can of coconut milk, and then stir in cooked and drained greens! Add some salt, the zest and juice of a lemon, a dash of apple cider vinegar, some freshly chopped herbs of your choice, and about a quarter cup of chopped fresh parsley. What’s great about this is you do everything out of the same pan except bake it.

Step Five: Pour filling over 9 X 13 pan with crust pressed into the bottom and even out. Then top with rolled out crust and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until top crust is golden and firmed up!

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Suppers Spinach Pie

For the filling:
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 pound spinach leaves
1 pound collard greens, de-stemmed, chiffonade
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
3 large garlic scapes, minced (or 3 large cloves garlic)
3 pieces chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 can coconut milk, whisked with a fork until incorporated
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

For the crust:
4 cups almond flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 Tablespoon dried herbs
dash ground black pepper
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water (pour in half and keep other half reserved)

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large cast iron pan over medium heat, add 1 Tablespoon coconut oil and spinach leaves. Cook 5 minutes, just until wilted, and place in a colander. Return pan to heat and add chiffonade collard greens. Cook 5 – 7 minutes, until wilted, and place in colander with spinach. Allow to cool 10 – 15 minutes until cool enough to handle and then squeeze out all moisture.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add all crust ingredients except remaining 1/2 of the water and mix with hands. Be sure to thoroughly mix crust before adding any more water and only add if crust is crumbly and will not form a ball.
3. Divide crust in half and press one half into a greased 9 X 13 glass baking dish. Place the other between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out to very thin with a rolling pin. Place baking dish with crust in it inside the oven and par bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
4. Meanwhile, in cast iron pan, add 1 Tablespoon coconut oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute 3 – 5 minutes. Add minced garlic scapes and cook 1 more minute until very fragrant. Add chicken thighs and pan sear 2 – 3 minutes per side.
5. Remove chicken thighs and chop into large chunks and then return to pan. Add a dash of apple cider vinegar and scrape up any brown goodness on the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in shiitake mushrooms and coconut milk. Lower heat to low and allow to gently cook about 5 minutes.
6. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, fresh herbs, and parsley until everything is well incorporated. Pour over par baked crust and top with rolled out crust. Cut any edges or press down into pan to create a nice pocket and place dish in oven. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the crust on the top is golden and firm. Allow to cook 5 minutes before serving – it will be very hot!


Happy Spinach Pie-ing!!! June is parenting month at The Purple Apron!

If you are a member of the Suppers Moms and Dads Facebook group and want to submit a story of your successes and failures at the dinner table with the kids – send in a story to Dor! We will have future time slots for Parenting stories so share yours today! 

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

Blueberries For Georgia

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowYou are the parent, you are not the friend. In this week’s story, Blueberries for Georgia, another frustrated mother deals with her five year old’s resistance to eating fresh fruit. Blueberries were new for Georgia.

We did not have this problem five decades ago when my mother was teaching me how to eat. There simply weren’t choices. We learn to eat by following the example of our parents. As you will see, Georgia’s mom was filled with trepidation about coercing her child to try fresh blueberries and in the end Georgia took the plan and ran with it.

Eileen’s Story: Blueberries For Georgia

Last month I attended a Suppers meeting where we discussed Bee Wilson’s book First Bite: How We Learn To Eat. In her book, Wilson points to study after study that proves a child can learn to like any food as long as the child has that particular food in the world he lives in. Wilson advocates a specific approach in which the child has repeated (at least 15), continuous (daily), small (the size of a grain of rice) exposures to the particular food. The child must actually taste the food during each encounter (licking counts).

This practice, Wilson claimed, will have even the most stubborn toddler enjoying a wide range of foods.

Well, this sounded like the perfect Suppers experiment for me and my five year old daughter, Georgia.  I thought I’d start with something easy, like blueberries.  Here is how it went.

Day 1:  I put one blueberry in a special, small, shallow blue bowl and approached her expectantly with it, explaining that this was an experiment and all she had to do was eat this single, delicious blueberry. Georgia refused and happily turned back to her playing. After twenty minutes of coaxing, begging and demanding, she finally ate it, making a vinegary face. I was dejected but up for the challenge.

Day 2:  My blue bowl and I chased Georgia around the house until I finally caught her. While I didn’t exactly pin her down and force-feed her the blueberry, let’s just say that neither one of us was happy after she finally ate it. I was beginning to question the wisdom of this approach.

Day 3:  Georgia took one look at me holding the blue bowl and had a complete melt down – fists and feet pounding the floor and hysterical crying that seemed to have no end. I put the bowl down on the counter and busied myself with making dinner.  She would not be consoled and I was shaken to my very core. I now knew that this experiment was not going to work for us.  Georgia finally ate the blueberry about an hour later.  I guess the poor thing thought she had to or she would never get any other food.

Day 4:  I don’t know what possessed me to continue, but I walked over to Georgia with a blueberry, in the blue bowl. She happily said, ok mommy, and immediately dropped the blueberry in her mouth.

Day 5:  I hadn’t yet had a chance to set up the blueberry in the blue bowl before Georgia ran over to the refrigerator, opened the fruit drawer and grabbed a handful of blueberries and threw them in her mouth.

Day 6:  I asked Georgia if she was ready for her blueberries, and she excitedly chanted blueberries – blueberries – blueberries, while I got them out of the refrigerator for her.

We continued with blueberries for nine more days and have since moved on to sugar snap peas and kiwi. These experiments are working for us and we plan to continue them.

While these foods may not be her favorites, or even wind up in the regular rotation, she understands a lot more about trying new things and that you may like something the tenth time you try it even when you didn’t like it the first nine times.

And, we are starting to have more and more choices when it comes to healthy foods on our plates.


A Suppers Re-Design on Blueberry Buckle for Georgia, by Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081My mother only ever made meatloaf with two sides: mashed potatoes and peas. And not sugar snap peas or snow peas or anything that delicious. I’m talking about the peas that come frozen out of a bag and taste godawful. For her, that’s how she only ever was served meatloaf and it was a beautiful treat for her as a child. She grew up in a very big family and I’m sure, like for Dor, there were no choices at the dinner table unless you chose to skip dinner. 

Anyways, that’s how she made it. I hate peas like that. Ugh – to this day, cannot stand green peas. Strangely enough, when they are served to me fresh in the spring, I’m all about that because they have that classic pea flavor but it is much more mild. Plus, I’m a total food snob. Ned can’t stand it, especially when we are on the subject of pizza. I’m a Nomad pizza girl. He’s a Contes guy. I keep telling him, “It’s ok to be wrong about stuff. I still love you even though no one has ever been more wrong about anything in the history of the universe.” Can you blame me though? I mean…Nomad versus Contes? That’s not even a fair contest.

When I was a kid, my mother would serve us meatloaf and sit down with us at the table – so pleased with herself and excited for dinner – and I would groan and she would say,

“Three bites. You have to take three bites of peas.” 

And she wouldn’t let me do the thing where you just put ONE single solitary pea on the spoon. It had to be a whole spoonful. I would do it, hating the experience. I never really grew to enjoy peas honestly BUT I did enjoy lots and lots of other vegetables!

Maybe it was that very palate tuning experiment that I needed to experience in order to explore other options and enjoy them. 

Blueberries, though. I mean…Georgia. Blueberries are DELICIOUS. So plump, so juicy. The perfect combination of sweet and tart. The perfect size for a handful. Easy to clean, keeps well in the fridge. Can be frozen whole without much trouble and eaten as a nice evening snack. And, of course, sorbet and popsicles. I think, for Georgia, the anticipation of the new food was probably the worst part. To her mother’s credit, blueberries were a GREAT place to start! 

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Almost every year, I enter the Terhune Orchards Blueberry Bake-Off in July when our special fruit is in season. Sometimes I win. None of the recipes I have ever made for the Bake-Off would be deemed Suppers Friendly, so I am going to walk through how to redesign a recipe. 

Here is the original recipe: 2013 First Place: Blueberry Buckle. Don’t make that.


A Blueberry Buckle Re-Design

Let’s talk about cleaning. 

Always place blueberries in a big bowl of water. Then take handful after handful out of the bowl, looking at them, letting stemless blueberries fall into a clean bowl. The water makes it easier to scoop without crushing the berries and it also makes it easier to see those little stems. They come off pretty easily by pinching them with your fingers and pulling them out.

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Let’s talk about crust.

To make the crust according to the recipe, we need:
All purpose flour
White sugar
Baking powder
Salt
Cinnamon
Lemon Zest
Eggs
Vanilla
Butter

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Obviously some of these ingredients are not Suppers Friendly. Here’s what you can do. 

Change The Ingredients

Every ingredient in your kitchen can be thought of as an element or as a means to an end. Each ingredient performs a specific purpose, whether it is for texture, flavor, or volume, or a combination of those. So, if you break it down into elements of a recipe and aren’t confined to an ingredient list as it stands, you can re-design just about anything – even when you are baking!!!

All Purpose Flour = Almond Flour (or you can use another gluten free flour, a gluten free flour blend, or you can use cooked grains like brown rice, quinoa, or millet)
Cornstarch = Arrowroot powder (a natural starch) or Tapioca Starch
White Sugar = Coconut Palm Sugar, Sucanat, Stevia (use very sparingly), Honey, Maple Syrup
*Always add cinnamon and vanilla to sweet recipes when they are not written in. Cinnamon and Vanilla bring out the natural sweetness in foods.
Eggs = Go ahead and use Eggs OR make a Flax Egg with 1 Tablespoon Flaxseed and 3 Tablespoons water mixed in a small bowl and left to congeal.
Butter = Go ahead and use Butter OR use Coconut Oil
*Coconut Oil is a wonderful saturated fat, stable at high heat, solid at room temperature, tastes amazing, and is great for your skin!

That was easy! Make the recipe as it is written by choosing your alternative ingredients and, as always, EXPERIMENT!!!! 

There is a blueberry pie contest at the West Windsor Community Farmers Market on July 2nd. It MUST be a pie but since I don’t have time to bake one, here’s a tip:

Thai Basil and Blueberries are a great combination. 


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Blueberry Lemon Buckle

1 1/2 cups almond flour or gluten free flour
1/2 cup – 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar, divided in half
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons lemon zest (one small lemon)
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup coconut oil, in clumps and chilled
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon arrowroot
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 heaping cups fresh blueberries, cleaned and de-stemmed
1 heaping Tablespoon Thai Basil or Lemon Balm, chiffonade

1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease an 8X8 baking dish with coconut oil.
2. In a food processor, combine flour, half of the sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Pulse 12 times to combine.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and vanilla. Set aside.
4. Pull apart clumps of chilled coconut oil and add to flour mixture in processor bowl. Make sure clumps aren’t too close to each other. Add egg yolk mixture to bowl and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs and begins to pull away from sides of bowl. Be careful not to over process or you will end up with dough.
5. Press 2/3 of crumb mixture into bottom of baking dish. Set aside.
6. In a separate bowl, combine arrowroot, remainder of sugar, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine and then fold in blueberries. Turn gently to coat and sprinkle basil into mixture. Pour over crust and sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over top.
7. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until bubbly and done.


Happy Blueberrying!!! June is parenting month at The Purple Apron!

If you are a member of the Suppers Moms and Dads Facebook group and want to submit a story of your successes and failures at the dinner table with the kids – send in a story to Dor! We will have future time slots for Parenting stories so share yours today! 

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

My Body is the Temple of My Soul

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowSuppers isn’t billed as a spiritual experience. Nevertheless, members experience spiritual sustenance in two main ways (you can probably think of more).

One is that it does take a body to have a spiritual experience. Having a physical body is a necessary but insufficient condition because it’s the vessel or terrain needed for any other experience to take place.

We  experience every feeling, every thought, every attitude and every spiritual moment on our human terrain.

So, just as the condition of the playing field affects the quality and outcome of the game, so too the condition of our physical bodies affects the quality and outcome of the lives we lead in them.  

Second, many of us derive spiritual sustenance from the communities that form around our shared intentions to be well. Our opening meditations, the food, our shared desire and commitments to take better care of the “temples of our souls”, and the support we provide each other are inspiring. For me, it’s about the “helper’s high”, the elevating feelings I get when I see revitalized people who thought their problems were intractable. Good food and social support are a powerful combination. If you haven’t been to a Suppers lately, what’s stopping you! Come get high on health with me!

Beth’s Story: My Body is the Temple of My Soul

When I started Suppers, I wasn’t expecting to have a spiritual experience. I went because my way of eating had gotten me into a lot of trouble. I had dug my way in with a fork and spoon and I needed to dig myself out with the same tools. I had church and a 12-step program to take care of my spiritual needs, so I imagined that the spiritual side of Suppers for me would be about penance. I looked at what wasn’t on the menu and knew I would feel sorry for my sins.

I didn’t know what to do with the line, “Caring for the body is the primary spiritual act because the body is the temple of the soul.” I’m not sure I agree with the “primary” part, but I got it that no matter what we’re doing, we’re doing it from a physical body. I have firsthand information on how illness affects my emotions and relationships and turns my prayers into pleas for help. 

It has been challenging for me in my spiritual practice to get quiet enough to hear God’s plan for me. Every day I ask for guidance, but there’s been so much noise in my head I couldn’t hear the answer.

It was a long process acquiring a personal appreciation of how deeply my physical body related to my spiritual experience. As I weaned myself off refined sugars and started eating more fresh food, my anxiety started to go down. I had been praying for years for help with anxiety and depression. I had no idea that part of the problem was my diet. I also learned that managing stress isn’t just about getting into a quiet meditative state; I also needed to move. A walk along the canal is just perfect for me. It locates me closer to God. Now that I’ve let go of most sweets, the spiritual difference is crystal clear. I spend more time saying prayers of gratitude than pleading for help. 


Black Bean Burgers For Beth, by Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Ever look at a package of vegetarian burgers? Most of them are pretty….well let’s just say that there’s a lot LOT of words under the word “Ingredients” that’s for sure – and you probably can’t pronounce all of them. At Suppers, that’s not a good place to start. 

The thing is, making vegetarian burgers can take a bit of work if you want them to be good. This is an instance where the time it requires to make them yourself is worth it – not to mention, they’re a make-ahead. Make a big batch and they freeze like champions! You know, like Olympic bobsled champions.

There is no need whatsoever to add manufacturing ingredients, like silica and tertiary butylhydroquinone, in case you happen to have them in your spice cabinet. Not kidding, butylhydroquinone is totally a word and it’s also an “ingredient” to look out for in processed foods. And hey, to be honest, there’s also no reason to add flour or breadcrumbs, either – that’s a trick that the majority of vegan or vegetarian chefs use to bulk up the volume, create binding, add texture, and reduce cost. But it’s not necessary – I’ll show you how.

It’s all about ingredient choices – and by ingredients I mean REAL ones. Not seventeen lettered ones. 

This week, no steps – everything just goes into a big bowl anyways. Let’s talk about the individual ingredients, how and why they are used and chosen, respectively, and then the recipe is at the bottom! 

INGREDIENTS, FLAVOR, AND CHARACTERISTICS: A GLOSSARY

BLACK BEANS
Black beans have their own binding capabilities – that’s why they’re a main ingredient in black bean burgers in the first place. In fact, that’s why someone was like, “black beans are sticky, I bet we could make burgers out of these” one day. However, black beans are pretty plain. Not much flavor. And to get them to their mushiest state takes a lot of elbow grease. You can use a potato masher as well but not a food processor – that would be TOO mushy, not enough good beany texture. 102980.jpg

I’ve used both canned and cooked black beans and…don’t hate me…I prefer to use canned. Cooked black beans seem to have a higher water content and make for a more liquid experience. Eden Organic Black Beans are my favorite brand but the more affordable 365 brand from Whole Foods is good too and, honestly, probably any canned bean would work.

SWEET POTATOsweet_potato_for_gnocchi
This is the secret weapon of a good black bean burger.
Roasted sweet potato flesh adds what wet flour would add – a fiber similar to the protein gluten – with none of the inflammation and four times the flavor. Go easy on the sweet potato, since they vary in size I usually go for a large one and then end up using about 3/4 of it. Roast in the oven, cool, peel, and add to your growing bowl of ingredients.

CARAMELIZED ONIONS
The last binding ingredient is, as we have previously discussed, the foundation of all flavor: the onion. Caramelized onions, which are a make – ahead that we learned about in Salmon For Breakfast  – add so much flavor to things that it’s totally bonkers. In terms of this recipe, these sweet sweet onions provide everything that we’re looking for in a small package. For one batch of burgers you probably don’t need more than 2 large yellow onions, sliced and caramelized.

Truth be told, for black bean burgers, you can stop around or before 60 minutes. But here’s the breakdown so you can see up to 2 hours.

MUSHROOMS
The other day I was making thportobellopix1.jpgese burgers in front of my sister, who generally won’t touch a thing I make but she DOES like my black bean burgers. She didn’t know there were mushrooms in it every time though. Ha! These are a bit of a secret ingredient – mushrooms add so much depth of flavor and they also add a nice texture and good water content. The trick is to chop up the mushrooms into nice even, small chunks, and then add them to the caramelized onions towards the end of the process and cooking them until the liquid is mostly evaporated.

SHREDDED CARROT
Carrots are so pretty! The orange color adds a nice splash to an otherwise darkish dish. Raw shredded carrot also adds some nice vitamins to this mineral rich burger. Finally, the carrots here won’t add a crunchy texture once they have been cooked but they will add a nice fresh, clean flavor of vegetables – even though nearly everything added so far is pretty much a vegetable. Just go with me. I’m sure you could add other shredded veggies at this point too if you are feeling adventurous.

TOSCANO KALE, CHIFFONADE dino-kale.jpg
Again this is a color and vitamin thing. Kale leaves (plus carrots) help to “break up” the otherwise heavy burger and you don’t need very much to make it a successful dish! I like to use toscano (aka lacinato, dino – the one with the flat leaf) kale because of its flatness and shape. Curly kale might work but it’s so difficult to manipulate in terms of shape and red russian kale has a water content that would create too much steam for the kale and give the burger an off flavor. So if you’re gonna use kale, use toscano. 

If you want to watch a mildly bizarre video on How to Chiffonade things, watch this one, it has okay tips and even though it uses basil it’s the same basic method: roll and slice. Here’s the video.

GARLIC
Cause garlic, you guys. If you can’t deal with garlic, don’t worry about it – but nothing garlics like garlic. I like to prep mine by mincing it first and then sprinkling a dash of sea salt on it and leaving it to sit for a few minutes. Upon return I continue mincing to get the salt all up in there and then I turn my knife blade away from me, so that I’m looking at the flat side and start to smash the garlic with the flat side, scraping towards me at a 45 degree angle, pressing and crushing the garlic as I scrape. I feel like this is hard to follow.

You know what, just watch Jaques Pepin’s method, he’s got some cool tricks right here! If Julia Child is my queen, Jaques Pepin is my king!

THYME, OREGANO, FRESH HERBS
Obviously fresh herbs pack one heck of a punch flavor wise. I like to use ground thyme, dried thyme, fresh thyme (any thyme, anytime), and I also use fresh oregano leaves, minced. Use whatever you like! A little fresh herbs goes a long, long way.

That’s it! I usually work next to a big bowl and when I’m done with an ingredient, I add it to the bowl. Then I go in with a potato masher and afterwards I use both hands to mix and fold and squish and crush and fold and mix until they’re done.

Another thing you should know before we finish up here is that these burgers take FOREVER to bake. They don’t have breadcrumbs or anything to lighten their load and they’re pretty wet considering the fact that most things have been cooked already so don’t embark on a black bean burger project if you only have an hour before dinner and then be like “well Allie said they were easy and they would take five minutes to make”. They’re easy, I suppose. But they won’t take five minutes. Try NOT to eat them in less than five minutes and make it a spiritual experience for yourself!!


48465d_bfdbfe183b374b9aafe3d373198ea1ee
This was a version of black bean burger made by my GSCK kids last summer! We used green bell peppers instead of carrots and a cilantro pesto sauce for topping – so delicious! Once you make these burgers my way, experiment with yours!

Black Bean Burgers

1 large sweet potato, whole, unpeeled
2 heaping Tablespoons coconut oil
2 large yellow onions, sliced into half moons
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 lb mushroom caps (portobello or cremini) small dice
1 cup shredded carrot (about 5 medium carrots)
6 leaves toscano kale, de-stemmed, chiffonade
6 cloves garlic, minced and smashed into a paste
4 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1. Preheat oven to 375 and place sweet potato directly on the rack with a baking sheet underneath to catch drippings. Roast potato for 45 minutes to an hour or until tender. Remove and set aside to cool and then peel off skin. Place flesh in a large bowl.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet with a tight fitting lid, melt coconut oil over medium heat and add sliced onions and salt. Stir to coat onions with oil, place lid over pan, and lower heat to low. Cook over low, low heat for up to 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes to prevent sticking. For reference or pictures head to Step 2 of Salmon For Breakfast.
3. Once onions are mostly done, stir chopped mushrooms into pan with onions. Raise heat to medium low and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms have given off liquid and then that liquid has mostly evaporated. Add onion and mushroom mixture to bowl with sweet potatoes.
4. Add shredded carrot, chiffonade kale, garlic, black beans, and herbs to the potato/onion/mushroom mixture and begin to mash with hands or a potato masher. Mash, fold, and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Taste and balance with sea salt.
5. Lower oven heat to 350 and measure out bean burgers (if you can, use a scale and weigh burgers out to 6 ounces). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and place patties on sheet, as close together as possible without sticking.
6. Bake burgers for 35-45 minutes on one side and then flip and continue cooking another 20 minutes or until done. Burgers will be heavy so flip gently – they need to bake a long time, don’t mess with the cooking time too much.


Happy Beaning!!! June is parenting month at The Purple Apron, so – although we are making up for missing last week by sharing one of Dor’s favorites to close out Founder’s Month – Parenting stories are coming!

If you are a member of the Suppers Moms and Dads Facebook group and want to submit a story of your successes and failures at the dinner table with the kids – send in a story to Dor! We will have future time slots for Parenting stories so share yours today! 

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms