Happy Holiday Food

Originally posted 12/17/13

The holidays are here and it's easy to slip into a diet that has a larger than average portion of foods like cheese, refined carbohydrates, sugar, and alcohol. As enjoyable as these foods can be in moderation, there are much better foods to give you the energy you need to sustain a season of celebration and good cheer. Here are some recipes that deliver taste and will feel good in your body so you can keep smiling all the way into 2014.








This pesto is great in the winter when fresh basil is less readily available. You could also make it with dandelion greens or any other dark leafy greens. Substitute gluten-free pasta if you wish. Substitute different veggies too depending on what you have and what sounds good. I choose these veggies because this recipe was originally geared toward kids and the sweetness of the onion, carrot, and tomato softens the bitterness of the kale.

Serves 6-8 as a main course


2½ lbs. lacinato kale, stems removed (curly kale will work but it will be a lighter green)
4 cloves garlic
1 C extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 lb. dried farfalle
1½ C grated parmigiano-reggiano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 medium large yellow onions, small diced

4 large carrots, cut in 1/4 inch rounds on the bias

2 C cherry tomatoes, cut in half (or substitute diced canned tomatoes)

2 T dried basil

1 T dried oregano

optional dried chile flakes


1. Bring a pot ofwater to a boil. Add kale and 2 cloves garlic; cook until bright green, 3–4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

2. Transfer kale and garlic, salt and the two raw cloves of garlic to a food processor; pulse to a purée. Pour in 3/4 cup of the oil while pulsing to form a pesto. You can add up to 1/4 C more oil if necessary to get the right consistency of pesto.

3. Once it is the right texture, i.e. thin enough to spread evenly on the pasta and vegetables, add in the grated parmesan. Mix and set aside.

4. In a large saucepan, heat 2 T olive oil. Add onions and saute on medium until onions are translucent. Add carrots, stirring occasionally until
carrots start to just soften and onions are getting brown on the edges. Add tomatoes and 2 T water. Cover 5 minutes until tomatoes are softened. Season with basil and oregano (and chile if using). Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.
5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add farfalle; cook until al dente, 10 minutes. Drain. Put the pasta in the bowl with the cooked vegetables. Add 1/2 the pesto to start, adding more to taste. add pasta to bowl of pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. If you have leftover pesto, keep it for dipping crudites or spreading on crackers or sandwiches. It also freezes well stored in an airtight container.






I love this recipe. I make variations of it throughout the year. In the summer I use lemon and sunflower sprouts and skip the ginger. This version has more warming and digestive spices. I always recommend soaking dried chickpeas in bulk, then cooking up a big batch and freezing them in smaller portions. I do this with all my beans so I have the convenience of canned with the taste of dried beans. Add some kombu when you're cooking the beans and it will make them more digestible and less gassy. This hearty salad keeps well and is best eaten in 3- 5 days.




5 C grated carrots

5 C cooked chickpeas

1 1/2 C parsley chopped


2 T lemon juice

1 whole lemon, outer peel cut off, keeping some white on

1 apple, peeled and cored, cut into 8

1 C tahini

2 inches fresh ginger, washed and cut into smaller pieces

1 T sea salt

2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp whole cumin seed

2T olive oil



1. In a large bowl, combine grated carrots and cooked chickpeas. Keep parsley aside for now.

2. In a blender, combine all the ingredients for the dressing. Blend until smooth.

3. Pour dressing over chickpeas and carrots. Mix. Add parsley. Adjust seasoning to taste.








CHAI 2013

Every year I make a chai recipe and drink it regularly for a few weeks. It helps me adjust to the change of seasons and I get the benefit of all those warming spices. This is caffeinated so depending on your sensitivity to caffeine, you may want to use a less robust black tea. The stronger black tea works well in flavor with all of the spices.





10 bags PG Tips black tea
10 whole cardamom pods
4 cinnamon sticks
1/4 of a whole nutmeg
2 star anise
1/4 C whole cloves
2 tsp whole peppercorns
3 inches fresh ginger root, sliced
3 quarts water
6 C almond milk (any kind of milk will work. I like almond milk because it tastes neutral and I have not wanted dairy. Regular dairy milk

will   make a richer chai).
1/2 C honey or more to taste


1. In a 4 quart saucepan, combine water, tea, and spices. Bring to a boil, immediately turn heat to low and simmer 1 hour.

2. Add almond milk and honey.

3. I like to strain it as I serve so I can keep the spices infusing longer, but you can strain it at any time. Strain and store refrigerated. Keeps up to 1 week.


  May you be bursting with energy this holiday season

and be well nourished from head to toe.