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Deliciously Organic: August 2010

Deliciously Organic

A blog devoted entirely to simple, wholesome, organic cooking.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back-to-School Lunch ideas and Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

It's been a great week. We're getting used to our school routine and I'm enjoying getting back to the gym each morning. I really missed the gym this summer!

Last week, I gave you tips on nourishing breakfasts and today I want to share my ideas for packing a healthy lunch. I like to keep things simple for lunch. I could give you ornate recipes but really, who has the time? My goal is to help you move away from boxed, processed foods and towards wholesome real food - so you know exactly what you're feeding your family. Because mornings can be hectic, I strive to keep the fridge and pantry stocked with the necessary foods so we can throw together healthy lunches in just a matter of minutes. Since I like to keep things simple, I have a list of foods to buy instead a list of recipes.

Sliced organic meats (if you can't find organic try to find meats without preservatives. Especially nitrates)
A variety of cheese: raw cheddar, Monterrey Jack, and mozzarella
Homemade Ranch, for dipping
Fruits, of all kinds
Homemade hummus
Nuts - pecans, almonds, cashews
Frozen berries
Whole wheat tortillas
Whole wheat bread (I prefer sprouted wheat or sourdough)
Organic corn chips
Olive oil potato chips
Organic fruit leather (Trader Joe's also carries a great variety)
Hard-boiled eggs
Canned tuna
Homemade Beef Jerky

Before school starts each year I sit my kids down and have them tell me what they would like in their lunches. Their tastes change, so I always want to have healthy foods they enjoy for lunch. The girls make their own lunches. We started this as soon as they began school and it's worked like a charm. They decide what they're going to eat with only one rule: they must pack at least one vegetable in their lunch every day. I wake them up 15 minutes early and after they're dressed, they make their lunches while I get breakfast ready. It works for our family and helps the kids learn a little responsibility. Since they pack their own food, they rarely return home with uneaten items.

Here are some of the things we pack:

1. Whole wheat tortilla with cheese and cilantro (put on a skillet until cheese is melted and serve at room temperature)

2. Yogurt with frozen berries and honey drizzled on top (by the time they get to school, the berries will be thawed, but still nice and cold)

3. Sandwiches and wraps - get creative. Use different condiments along with avocado, cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts, roasted bell peppers and cheese. My daughter also likes to put a few olive oil potato chips in her sandwich. She calls it "crunchifying" the sandwich.

4. Carrot sticks, cucumbers, and any other vegetable they like with homemade ranch or hummus.

5. If your child enjoys salad, I suggest this container. Layer vegetables in the bottom bowl and pour in a bit of dressing in the top compartment. When it's time to eat, simply push the button and the dressing pours over the salad. Shake, and your done!

6. Here are a couple other salads that taste great at room temperature: Mexican Quinoa Salad, Wild Rice Thai Salad 

7. Sometimes I pop popcorn for a fun addition to lunch. You could also make some homemade Cracker Jacks.

8. Quick tuna salad - combine drained tuna with about a tablespoon of mayonnaise, chopped pickles and celery. My daughter loves this either by itself or on whole wheat toast.

9. Larabars make an easy, quick addition either for lunch or to pack as a snack. Here is my recipe for Pecan Pie Larabars.

10. Caesar salad wraps - a Caesar salad wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.

11. I found this recipe for coconut flour cookies the other day and can't wait to try it. Perfect for a treat at the end of lunch!

Another topic I can't stress enough is the importance of drinking water. I see to many kids packing boxed juices loaded with sugars, corn syrup, and preservatives. Even the ones that say "pure juice" have been pasteurized so there isn't much nutrition left in them. Kids need water. At the beginning of the year, buy a water bottle (I prefer stainless steel) and have them fill it with water each day. You'll save hundreds of dollars over the course of the year and your children will benefit from a much more healthy habit.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies
I soak and then dehydrate all of my nuts because nuts contain enzyme inhibitors that make it difficult for the body to digest. Soaking the nuts in salt water overnight releases the enzyme inhibitors. The nuts are then dehydrated at a low temperature to keep all of the nutrients intact. The recipe for dehydrated nuts can be found here. Slightly adapted from Nourishing Traditions
Makes 24 cookies

1 1/2 cups dehydrated peanuts
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 300°F and adjust rack to middle position. Line a large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Place peanuts in the bowl of a food processor and process to a fine meal. Add coconut oil, arrowroot, salt, whole cane sugar, and vanilla. Process until dough comes together. If the dough is a little dry, add a tablespoon or so of water until the dough comes together. Form the dough into walnut-sized balls, place on baking sheet, and flatten just a bit with the back of a spoon to make an indentation on the top of the cookie. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 tablespoon per cookie. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool completely.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hashed Browns

The two questions I get asked the most are, "Why do you use so much fat in your recipes?" and "Can you give me new lunch ideas?" This week, I want to tackle both questions for you and today we'll start with the question of fat.

I rode the non-fat bandwagon for many years. I tried to eat as little fat as possible (eggs were completely shunned in our house, along with butter and whole milk) but never felt good or satisfied. I had problems keeping weight off and my energy levels up. About six years ago, when I took on an organic diet, I began reading about the importance of fats and discovered some very interesting information. We need fats. Unprocessed, saturated fats are essential for energy, hormone production, a healthy immune system, and many other important functions. This information intrigued me, but also confused me a little. Wasn't fat bad? Doesn't fat cause heart disease? Doesn't fat make me fat? I wanted the answers to these questions so I began digging.

The low-fat message began in the 1950's with a theory called the "Lipid Hypothesis". This hypothesis proposes a direct relationship between the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet and the incidence of coronary heart disease. Ancel Keys, the researcher behind the Lipid Hypothesis received a lot of publicity especially from the vegetable oil and food processing industries. Many experts preach the validity of a diet low in fat and cholesterol for decreasing the risk of heart disease. I was shocked to learn there is very little scientific evidence to support this claim.

"Before 1920 coronary heart disease was rare in America; so rare that when a young internist named Paul Dudley White introduced the German electrocardiograph to his colleagues at Harvard University, they advised him to concentrate on a more profitable branch of medicine. The new machine revealed the presence of arterial blockages, thus permitting early diagnosis of coronary heart disease. But in those days clogged arteries were a medical rarity, and White had to search for patients who could benefit from his new technology. During the next forty years, however, the incidence of coronary heart disease rose dramatically, so much so that by the mid fifties heart disease was the leading cause of death among Americans. Today heart disease causes at least 40% of all US deaths. If, as we have been told, heart disease results from the consumption of saturated fats, one would expect to find a corresponding increase in animal fat in the American diet. Actually, the reverse is true. During the sixty-year period from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of traditional animal fat in the American diet declined from 83% to 62%, and butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four. During the past eighty years, dietary cholesterol intake has increased only 1%. During the same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400% while the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased about 60%." Mary G. Enig, PhD

This is just a taste of the information I've found and there are multiple studies and research from reputable doctors and scientists that suggest fat and cholesterol may not be the enemies we've made them out to be.

I'm not a scientist or doctor but here's what I've learned:

1. A fat like butter is a short fatty-acid chain that is quickly absorbed into the body for energy and plays a vital role in the immune system.

2. Coconut oil, a medium fatty-acid chain, has high antimicrobial properties, is also quickly used for energy and contributes to the health of the immune system.

3. Olive oil is a long fatty-acid chain and supports many processes at the cellular level.

4. Polyunsaturated fats are needed in very small quantities but unfortunately, we consume them in mass quantities from processed sources such as corn, safflower, canola, and soy. High levels of polyunsaturated fats have been shown to contribute to many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, digestive disorders, weight gain, among many others.

5.We also consume too much omega-6 (mainly from commercially-processed vegetable oils) and not enough omega-3 (from pastured eggs, meats, dairy, and fish).

6. Saturated fats are needed for the health of our bones, to protect the liver from toxins, to enhance the immune system, among many other things.

7. Saturated fatty acids give our cells necessary stiffness and integrity.

8. "Evaluation of the fat in artery clogs reveals that only about 26% is saturated. The rest is unsaturated, of which more than half is polyunsaturated." (Wow!) source

After a year or two of my own reading and research, I decided the evidence was compelling enough to give fats a try. I got rid of all of the processed fats and oils in my pantry and replaced them with butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and a few others. The result? I feel better, my energy level is up. Our family as a whole rarely gets sick. Here's a big clincher, my cellulite has slowly continued to disappear over the last few years! It's not completely gone, but it has decreased significantly. Ask my friends, they saw it all happen and asked me what I was doing.

I had a friend call two years ago and tell me his cholesterol was elevated and there was also calcification in his arteries. The doctors recommended certain drugs, but along with that, he wanted to try other alternatives. I showed him what I'd learned, so he dramatically changed his diet and made sure to consume a healthy amount of unprocessed, saturated fats each day. The result? In a year his cholesterol went down (60 points), his blood pressure is normal for the first time in 20+ years and his calcification is gone. Gone! He told his doctor what he did, and after his doctor did his own research, he is now a believer in the importance of healthy fats to support the body.  [This is a doctor who's spent more than a decade advising his patients to limit their cholesterol intake and prescribing drugs to control cholesterol and blood pressure.]

I have many other friends with similar stories.

If you're reading this information for the first time, I know it can be confusing and a bit overwhelming. I understand, I was the same way. Remember, it's all about little changes. Take some time, read and research for yourself, and see what you think. I think you'll be amazed at what you find.

For further reading:

The Skinny on Fats
The Cholesterol Myths (unfortunately out of print, but look at your local library)
Fat and Cholesterol are Good For You
Eat Fat, Lose Fat (my favorite, and a very easy read)
The Importance of Saturated Fats for Biological Functions
The Oiling of America
What if Fat isn't so bad? No one's ever proved that saturated fat clogs arteries, causes heart disease. (MSNBC)
Good News on Saturated Fat (New York Times)

Today's recipe is a family favorite for those lazy mornings when I have time to make a big breakfast. Cubed potatoes sauteed in butter blend perfectly with minced onion and plenty of sea salt. I usually serve it alongside some scrambled eggs and pastured bacon.

Hashed Browns
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
Serves 4

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add potatoes, onions, salt and pepper and cook for 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally, until the potatoes are browned and the onion is caramelized. Take off the heat and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

Because I was limited in time this week, the first and third photographs in today's post are from

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Granola

The kids started school today. I love the first day of school. The anticipation. The excitement. The freshly sharpened pencils, boxes of crayons, and new backpacks.

The start of school is like a second New Year. It's time for evaluating, reorganizing, and setting some new goals. I hope your list includes continuing to make small, simple steps toward eating a more healthy diet. It's not about a grand overhaul, but small changes for you and your family. The next two weeks I'll be giving advice and recipes to keep you and your family eating as healthfully as possible during the school year. Even if you aren't in school or don't have children, these ideas are for you too . . .

I want to start with breakfast. I know that as the year gets going, a healthy breakfast can be one of the first meals to slide. We often reach for something quick and easy (and unhealthy). You can feed yourself and your family on a rushed morning with a few simple steps, and nothing has to come from a box. Breakfast in our house is usually a rotating lists of foods. At 7am when the kids are running around I need quick nutritious foods.

First, I make large batches of muffins, pancakes, or waffles on the weekends and freeze them for weekday mornings. When we're rushing, I turn the oven to 350°F, place the muffins or whatever I've frozen in the oven (I don't even wait for the oven to heat up, just pop it in when you turn the oven on) go about getting everyone ready and in about 20 minutes I have a hot, healthy breakfast for everyone to enjoy.

A second option is granola. Honestly, I haven't found a store-bought cereal I can stand behind. Even the brands that advertise "whole grain" are usually still loaded with sweeteners and preservatives. So I make my own. I can't tell you how fast it is to throw together some granola that you can use as cereal in the mornings. The granola pictured today took me 10 minutes to toss together and 45 minutes of baking. Again, you can make some on the weekend or on a weekday when you have some time and you'll have cereal ready when you need it during the week.

Eggs make an excellent busy-morning bite. I make them sunny-side-up, in an omelet with spinach or bell peppers, or scrambled with shredded cheese mixed in. Eggs are incredibly nutritious and can be tossed together in a matter of minutes.

My daughter's favorite lately has been banana bread. I made a loaf last week and put it in the fridge. She pulls out the toaster, slices off a thick piece, toasts it and tops it with a little butter. That beats a "toaster pastry" out of a box any day.

Good, healthy breakfasts take a little preparation but totally pay off. This chocolate peanut granola is so amazing, you won't ever want to go back to cocoa cereal. It's chocolaty, crunchy, sweet, and filling. If you don't have time to eat it with milk, simply put it in a little bag and take it with you. If you have some left at the end of your week, you could always reward yourself for the healthy breakfasts and sprinkle it over vanilla ice cream!

Chocolate Peanut Granola
This recipe leaves lots of room for creativity. You can substitute the peanuts with almonds, pecans, or walnuts or try adding dried fruits like cherries to change things up a bit.
Makes about 10 cups
Adapted from Food Network

1/4 cup cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup white sesame seeds
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
2 cups raw peanuts
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 300°F and adjust rack to middle position. Mix everything together very well in a large mixing bowl. Spread the mixture evenly on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 45 minutes, turning over half-way through baking. Cool completely before serving. Crumble and store in an airtight container.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Strawberry Cheesecake Icebox Pie

I noticed at the market this week the summer produce is slowly starting to dwindle. I sighed a little when it hit me: cherry season is really, truly over. Happily, several bags of cherries wait safely in my freezer for use later this fall. I've also loaded up on bruised peaches and plums. I peeled, cut, and froze them for smoothies and cobblers when the temperatures begin to dip. Strawberries were still abundantly available this week though, so I bought several pints. I love the small, thimble-size berries. They're packed with sweetness and taste like they're sprinkled with sugar.

Yesterday, I shared with you my graham cracker recipe. I made the rich, sugary crackers this week specifically for the pie's crust. After creating the recipe, I couldn't figure out what to call it. I phoned a friend, we brainstormed, and within a few minutes we had a name - Strawberry Cheesecake Icebox Pie. Why "icebox"? Because my Grandma used to make lemon icebox pie when I'd visit her in the summertime and this pie reminds me of those visits. Later in the evening, my husband and I sat on the couch eating thick slices and I told him the name. He replied, "It really doesn't matter what you call it - this pie is freakin' awesome." Well said.

Strawberry Cheesecake Icebox Pie
Serves 8

3 tablespoons organic whole cane sugar or Sucanat
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 cups fresh strawberries
1/2 cup honey
4 teaspoons arrowroot
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup honey, divided
1 cup heavy cream
20-24 strawberries, tops cut off and hulled

Preheat oven to 350°F and adjust rack to middle position. Butter a 9-inch pie plate. Place graham crackers and whole cane sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Pour in melted butter and process until crumbs are uniformly moist. Pour mixture into pie plate and press on bottom and up sides of plate. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Pour strawberries, honey, and arrowroot in clean bowl of food processor. Pulse until blended. Pour mixture into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Cool completely.

Place cream cheese and 1/4 cup honey in the bowl of a standing mixer with whisk attached. Whisk on medium speed until creamy. Pour cream cheese mixture into a large mixing bowl. Pour heavy cream into the now clean bowl of the standing mixer. With whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed while slowly adding remaining 1 /4 cup honey. Whisk until soft peaks form. Pour whipped cream into bowl with cream cheese mixture and fold until smooth. Pour mixture into cooled pie crust.

Arrange strawberries around the edge of the crust. Spoon cooled strawberry sauce over the top of the pie. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Whole Wheat Graham Crackers

Today's post is short and sweet - homemade whole wheat graham crackers. The dough is easy to work with and the flavor of the crackers is beyond anything you can find at the store. Come back tomorrow when I'll share with you my recipe for strawberry cheesecake icebox pie using these crackers for the crust.

Whole Wheat Graham Crackers
The original recipe (by Alton Brown) uses metric measurements, but for those of you without a scale I measured everything out in cups.
Adapted from The Food Network

8 3/8 ounces (1 1/2 cups plus 1 teaspoon) graham flour
1 7/8 ounces (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons) whole wheat flour
3 ounces (5 tablespoons) organic whole cane sugar or Sucanat
2 teaspoons maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 ounces (just shy of 6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 1/4 ounces (4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons) molasses
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons) whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place graham flour, whole wheat flour, whole cane sugar, maple syrup, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 4 times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 7 times until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the molasses, milk and vanilla extract to the dough and process until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. Pour the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, and flatten the dough into a 1/2-inch thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350° F and adjust rack to middle position. Unwrap the chilled dough and place it onto a large piece of unbleached parchment paper and top with a second sheet of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick. Pick up the rolled dough and parchment paper and place on a large baking sheet. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and cut the dough, using a knife or rolling pizza cutter into 2-inch square pieces. There will be small pieces of excess on the sides (I baked them along with the crackers and ate them as a snack later). Using a fork, poke holes on the top of the dough. Place baking pan with dough in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the edges just start to darken. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Once completely cool, break into individual crackers. Store in an airtight container. The crackers will keep for 1 week.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Tomato and Bacon Hash

This weekend Pete, the girls, and I enjoyed a morning in Santa Monica. We had a delightful breakfast at a local bakery then walked a few blocks to the farmers' market. We weaved our way through the crowded street, visiting each booth and loading our bags with fresh produce. The girls continued their habit of scouting for samples and staring at the honey sticks. My eyes drank in the vast array of ripe and juicy tomatoes in season right now - reds, golds, and greens. I grabbed a few bright red heirloom tomatoes and a slab of organic pastured bacon so I could prepare this fantastic, indulgent dish for one. Salty-crisp bacon, large chunks of ripe tomatoes, and a mound of parsley combined for a flavorful after-market meal. It's quick to the plate and perfect with hearty bread to sop up the juices!

Bacon and Tomato Hash
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Serves 1

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 pieces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (pastured bacon preferred)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tomato, diced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the bacon and cook until crispy. Add garlic and stir until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Quickly add the tomato (the pan will sizzle, so stand back), Worcestershire and parsley. Stir for a minute or so until all ingredients are hot. Transfer to a plate and season generously with salt and pepper. Serve with bread to sop up the juices.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Slow-Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken

"This is one of those recipes you just can't make once: that's to say, after the first time, you're hooked. It's gloriously easy: you just put everything in the roasting dish and leave it to cook in the oven, pervading the house, at any time of year, with the summer scent of lemon and thyme - and of course, mellow, almost honeyed garlic." Nigella Lawson

She's right. I made this dinner for the first time a few years ago and it's the only recipe among my stacks, binders, and folders full of recipes that I've left alone. No need for an adaptation. It's simple and incredibly delicious.

We have two weeks until the girls go back to school so I don't really want to be in the kitchen too much. Well, I do, because I always have dozens of new recipe ideas whizzing around in my head, but for the next two weeks I really want to enjoy the kids and the slower summer pace.

Today when I made this recipe, I also tossed some thick slices of zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper, covered it with foil, and put it in the oven at the same time I put the chicken in. The zucchini cooked beautifully and when my husband walked through the door, I had dinner ready, and I hadn't been in the kitchen for hours.

Slow Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken
Recipe from "Forever Summer" by Nigella Lawson
Serves 4

1 3-4 pound chicken, butterflied
1 head garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
2 organic lemons, cut into eighths
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 300°F and adjust oven to middle position. Place chicken skin-side up in a large roasting pan and arrange garlic cloves and lemon around the chicken. Pull the leaves off of 3 sprigs of thyme and sprinkle over chicken, garlic and lemon. Pour the oil over the chicken and using your hands, rub the oil onto the skin of the chicken. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Pour white wine in pan, around the chicken. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pan and then cover tightly with foil. Place in the oven and cook for 2 hours. Remove the foil and parchment paper from the pan, and turn up the oven to 400°F. Cook the uncovered chicken for an additional 30-45 minutes, until skin is golden brown and breast registers 170°F on a thermometer. Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Favorite Green Beans

Have you given much thought to the kind of salt you use? Salt may seem like an insignificant topic, but if you want to take steps toward a less-processed diet, it's something to think about. Basic table salt is first processed at high temperatures, removing vital minerals from the salt, then it's iodized, bleached, and mixed with anti-caking agents (examples include: ferrocyanide, yellow prussiate of soda, tricalcium phosphate, alumine-calcium silicate, sodium aluminosilicate). Iodine is an vital mineral that supports thyroid function, body metabolism and reproducitive tissue health, just to name a few. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) is set at 150-1,100 mcg a day. But the amount of iodine in a moderate serving of iodized salt is 1,520 so it is easy to exceed the daily limit using even a modest amount of salt.

On the other hand, a quality, gently-processed, sea salt can offer a myriad of beneficial characteristics. The only brand I've found that fits the bill is Celtic Sea Salt. It's hand-harvested off the coast of France, dried at a low temperature and contains no additives, bleaching agents or anti-caking agents. Celtic Sea Salt provides over 80 trace minerals, helps balance electrolyte levels, and helps balance alkaline/acid levels.

I prefer cooking with Celtic Sea Salt not only for its health benefits, but also because of its flavor. The grains bring a subtle saltiness and compliment foods better than any other salt I've tried. Salt makes a great example of the entire theme of this blog. I think you'll find the flavor better than table salt and your research will make you thankful for the health benefits of the change.

I also love offering unique ways to eat foods fresh from the garden. Years ago I was often quite intimidated by fresh green beans. I'd look at them laying there in a mound, bright and green at the market and think, "What do I do besides boil them?" After thumbing through several cookbooks, I learned that green beans can be given a quick boil, and then sauteed in oil and spices to produce an easy side dish. These green beans are crisp-tender with little bits of salty garlic, ginger and a punch of heat. Grill up some chicken or fish, add some sourdough, and you'll have a simple summertime meal on the table in less than thirty minutes.  

Green Beans with Garlic
Adapted from Perfect Vegetables
Serves 4

1 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoons coconut oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons fermented soy sauce (such as Nama Shoyu)

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add salt and beans and cook for 3 minutes, until crisp tender. Drain beans.
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add coconut oil and swirl pan to coat. Add green beans and cook, stirring frequently, until spotty brown, about 2 minutes. Make a well in the center of the pan and add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring continuously until fragrant, about 30 seconds and then mix together with the green beans. Stir in soy sauce. Serve immediately.


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