Halibut Amandine

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Here’s a great idea for a quick way to serve up some omega-3 rich fish for dinner.  I used halibut, but you could use sole or haddock if halibut is not available or in season.  I only buy wild caught fish.  I feel better about the farming and environmental implications and I swear, the fish always tastes better then farm raised.  The Amandine sauce adds nice depth and character to an otherwise simply prepared fish dish.  It would work nicely spread over any white fish, no need to “bread” the filet… It’s that good!

Halibut Amandine

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 pounds halibut (you can use sole or haddock)IMG_4405-2

1/2 cup corn flour (almond flour is a great substitute)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

pinch black pepper

1/4 cup unsalted butter or earth balance

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup white wine or white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1/2 cup roasted and chopped almonds

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Rinse fish, pat dry, and cut into desired serving sizes.

Combine corn or almond flour with salt and pepper.

Lay each piece of fish in seasoned flour and set aside.

When all the pieces are floured, place fish on an oiled baking tray and bake until done, 8 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness.

To prepare the sauce, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat.

Add raisins and wine, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add lemon juice, parsley and almonds.

Keep warm until ready to serve.

When fish is cooked through, top with sauce and serve along with a green salad.

Yours in health,

Renee Koczkodan

Certified Holistic Health Coach

www.ReneeKHealthCoaching.com.

Sunbutter Truffles

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In a meeting with one of my health coaching clients this week, the subject of craving and eating more sugar in the winter months came up.  She was struggling to resists processed carbs and sugar.  She said that eating something sweet felt very comforting to her. This instigated a conversation around how to curb sweet cravings and why we have them.  It is normal to crave sweet foods in the winter.  Winter is when we tend to feel depleted, and cold.  It seems to take a lot more energy to get us through our days.  This is because of the shorter days, longer nights, colder temperatures and lack of adequate sunlight.  If we didn’t need to conform to these crazy schedules that society imposes on us, we’d be slowing way down in the winter.  Sleeping more and actually putting a little insulation on us in the way of a few extra pounds, to keep us warm.  We also crave sweets because they signal that we are eating something safe.  In the beginnings of time, when we were more primitive, a sweet taste told us that food was safe to eat, as opposed to the bitter flavor indicating poison.  We also associate sweetness with nourishment, because mother’s milk is slightly sweet, so our first association in life with the sweet flavor is through breast milk, which is the most nourishing food we could eat.  Sweet tastes can make us feel safe, the way we felt in our mother’s arms.  Sweet stuff typically has sugar in it as well, which our bodies know that sugar is the quickest way to get energy…albeit unsustained.  So I say, don’t ignore that sweet craving.  Instead, honor what your body needs by substituting that cookie for something that is sweet AND nourishing.  This way, you get what you need, weather it’s energy or nourishment, you satiate your craving, and you feel satiated with less because your are not eating empty calories.

The following recipe fits the bill nicely.  Not only is it packed full of healthy Ginseng Herbfat, vitamins and protein, but it also contains Ashwagandha.  Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that is known for it’s ability to nourish the deep tissues (bone, nervous tissue, reproductive tissue) and help the body cope with stress.  Because of it’s warming energy, it is a great addition to your fall and winter recipe repertoire.  You can purchase it here at Jean’s Greens. Jean’s Greens is a wonderful resource for ordering the highest quality dried herbs, ayurvedic powders and spices.

I came across this recipe in the cookbook, The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook, written by Kate O’Donnell.  I bought this cookbook a couple of months ago and am in love!  It seems like each recipe I try is even better then the last.  I highly recommend purchasing it for your library.  You can find it here.

Sunbutter Truffles

makes about 12

Ingredients

Sun Butter Filling

2 tsp melted coconut oil

1/2 cup sunflower butterIMG_3565

1 tbsp raw honey

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup almond meal

2 tsp Ashwagandha (optional)

Chocolate Coating

3 tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tbsp + 2 tsp maple syrup

1 tbsp + 2 tsp raw cacao powder

shredded coconut for decoration (optional)

Directions:

Melt the coconut oil by standing the jar in hot water.  In a small bowl, mix together 2 tsp melted coconut oil, sunflower butter, honey, and vanilla.  Add the almond meal, sprinkle with cinnamon and ashwagandha, and stir to combine.  Cover and place in freezer for 45 minutes.

Cover a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.  Meanwhile, make the chocolate coating in a small bowl by whisking with a fork the remaining 3 tbsp coconut oil with the maple syrup and cacao powder.  Prepare it for dipping by placing the bowl inside a larger bowl of warm water.  This will keep the coating from solidifying while you work.  Take care not to get any water inside the chocolate.

With the chilled sunflower butter mixture, shape 1-inch balls and drop them, one at a time, into the chocolate.  Using two spoons, roll the ball until it is totally coated, then lift it out and lay it on the papered cookie sheet.  If desired, sprinkle coconut over the top before coating hardens.

Keep refrigerated until serving

Yours in health,

Renee Koczkodan

Certified Holistic Health Coach

www.ReneekHealthCoaching.com.

 

 

 

Chicken and Root Vegetable Stew

This week’s featured dish is a hearty and warming Chicken and Root Vegetable Stew.  Just in time for the wintry cold weather that seems to be finally setting in here.  This stew couldn’t be easier to prepare, and it has two ingredients that you might not be used to cooking with.  The first unusual ingredient is parsnips.  Parsnips are closely related to carrots and parsley, are a hardy annual or biannual plant that is native to Eurasia, and have a slightly earthy and sweet flavor.  They are a touch sweeter then carrots.  Some of the health benefits of including parsnips in your diet are:

  • Thought to have aphrodisiac-type properties
  • High in potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and iron
  • Contain vitamins B, C, E, and Kparsley roots isolated on white
  • High in fiber
  • Help to reduce high blood pressure
  • Great for heart health
  • Lower the chance of developing diabetes
  • Improve digestion
  • Boost immune system
  • Beneficial for growth and development of body

Wow!  That’s an impressive list!  The other ingredient that you may not be familiar with is umeboshi vinegar.  Umeboshi vinegar is a by-product produced when umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums) is made.  Technically, it is not a vinegar, since it contains salt, but it is a healthy alternative to other vinegars and salt in any recipe.  It has a light, citric flavor that works really well splashed over seemed veggies, added to soups and stews, or used in home-made salad dressings.  Be careful to not add too much!  Umeboshi vinegar is quite salty, due to that fact that it is literally a brine.  A cool piece of info related to umeboshi vinegar is that Samurai used to eat umeboshi plums to cure battle fatigue!  How cool is that?  Some of the reported health benefits of umeboshi vinegar are:

  • Alkalinizes the body
  • Neutralizes fatigue
  • Balances and strengthens the body
  • Helps to detoxify the body

You may remember from my blog post a few weeks ago, that I talked about my friend Kate’s new cook book called, The Everyday Ayurveda.  In it, she gives recipes for salt and herb mixes that are appropriate for each season.  I use a little of the winter salts and the winter herb mix to flavor this stew.  If you plan ahead and make the salt and herb blends, this dish will take no time to make, and you’ll have plenty of herbs and salt left over to season your meals for the rest of the week!

Chicken and Root Vegetable Stew

serves 4

Ingredients:

8 small skinless, boneless chicken thighsProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

1 large onion, chopped

4 medium sized carrots, cut into 3/4 inch pieces

4-5 small parsnips, cut into 3/4 inch pieces

1 large garlic clove, pressed

1 tsp winter spice mix * (see below for recipe)

1 tsp winter salts * (see below for recipe)

1 tbs crushed, dried rosemary

4 cups chicken broth or stock

2-3 splashes umeboshi vinegar

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients, except for the umeboshi vinegar in a 4-5 quart slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or high for 4-5 hours.
  2. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, add a few splashes of the umeboshi vinegar.
  3. Serve hot and enjoy!

*Winter Spice Mix

makes 1/4 cup

Ingredients:

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 tsp dehydrated sugarcane

1 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp black pepper (optional)

Directions:

Dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat until you can smell them, a few minutes.  Cool completely.  Combine with the other ingredients and grind to a uniform consistency in a spice-dedicated coffee grinder or by hand with a mortar and pestle.  Store in a small glass jar with a shaker top.

*Winter Salts

makes 1/3 cup

Ingredients:

2 tbsp dried rosemary

2 tbsp dried marjoram or oregano

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp dehydrated sugarcane or maple sugar

1 tbsp black pepper

Directions:

Mix the dried herbs, salt, sugar, and pepper together in a small glass shaker jar.  Grind in a mortar and pestle first, if needed, to a uniform consistency.  Store in a small glass jar with a shaker top.

Yours in health,

Renee Koczkodan

Certified Holistic Health Coach

www.ReneeKHealthCoaching.com.

 

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

In the spirit of starting the new year off on the right foot, I have been making a serious effort to to get back to my clean eating habits.  This week, I share a recipe for a Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding that meets my clean eating requirements.  Not only is this delicious treat gluten, dairy and sugar free, it is packed full of vitamins, due to the nutrient dense chia seeds.  On top of providing a hefty dose of fiber, protein, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, these tiny little seeds also contain a substantially high amount of brain healthy omega 3 fatty acids.  The coconut milk in this recipe adds a boost to your immune system, due to the presence of anti-microbial lauric acid and the anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties of the capric acid found in coconut milk.  I like to have this as a mid- morning or mid-afternoon snack because it gives me a serious boost of energy.  The energy comes from all of the amazing vitamins and nutrients present this simple dish.  It is also cleanse, candida and elimination diet friendly.  How awesome is that?

 

Pumpkin Pie Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients:

serves 6

1/3 cup chia seeds

1 – 13.5 oz can full fat organic coconut milk

13.5 oz filtered water

2 tsp organic pumpkin pie spice

1/8 tsp organic vanilla extract (use alcohol free vanilla extract if cleansing or on an elimination or candida diet)

20 drops organic liquid stevia

1 tsp organic ground cinnamon

1/2 tbs organic raw cacao nibs

Directions:

  1. Whisk water and coconut milk together, in a decent sized bowl, until combined
  2. Stir in the pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and stevia
  3. Mix the chia seeds into the liquid and let stand for 1 hour
  4. Stir again and refrigerate over night
  5. Divide between 6 small bowls
  6. Before serving,  sprinkle the ground cinnamon and the cacao nibs over each bowl of pudding

Try this out as a snack in your packed lunch, and see how your energy soars!

Yours in health,

Renee Koczkodan

Certified Holistic Health Coach

www.ReneeKHealthCoaching.com.

 

Warming Tomato Dal

This dish does exactly what it’s name implies.  It is simple, satisfying and warming.  Perfect for a cold winte’s night.  One of the things I love about this dal is that it is so easy to make.  I used my slow cooker to prepare it. It took all of 5 minutes to put together, and when I got home from work last night, I had a delicious home cooked, healthy, vegan and gluten free dinner ready and waiting.  The trick to making this dal creamy is to soak the lentils over night.  Another time saving tip is to make your winter spice blend ahead of time.  I got this recipe out of the book The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook, written by Kate O’Donnell.  Kate is an Ashtanga yoga teacher at Down Under Yoga, the studio that I am taking my yoga teacher training at.  She is also somewhat of an expert on the ancient sister science to yoga, called ayurveda.  Ayurveda teaches that we are all comprised of varying degrees of energy fields, or doshas.   The three Dosas are: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The doshas are biological energies found throughout the human body and mind. They govern all physical and mental processes and provide every living being with an individual blueprint for health and fulfillment.  Ayurveda also states that we should eat specifically for the season and our doshas. This recipe does this perfectly.  Try it out.  I promise, you will love it!

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Warming Tomato Dal

Ingredients:

4 cups water

1 cup red lentils (preferably soaked over night)

*1 tbsp Winter Spice Mix (see below for recipe)

1 16-oz jar whole tomatoes, chopped (reserve juice)

2 leaves lacitano kale

1 tbsp ghee

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Rinse the lentils until the water runs clear and place the lentils along with the 4 cups water, chopped tomatoes and their juice and 1 tbsp of the *Winter Spice Mix into a slow cooker.  Set the heat to high and cover.
  2. While the slow cooker is warming, melt the ghee in a small frying pan over medium heat and sauté the cumin and mustard seeds until you can smell them, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the spiced ghee to the lentils, tomatoes and water.  Cover and let cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.
  4. About 30 minutes before serving, rinse the kale leaves, de-rib them, and slice them into ribbon strips.  Add the kale to the lentils and water.
  5. Add 1 tsp salt and let cook, covered, for another 30 minutes or so.
  6. Serve over basmati rice.

*Winter Spice Mix

Ingredients:

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 tsp dehydrated sugarcane

1 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp black pepper (optional)

Directions:

Dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat until you can smell them, a few minutes.  Cool completely.  Combine with the other ingredients and grind to a uniform consistency in a spice-dedicated coffee grinder or by hand with a mortar and pestle.  Store in a small glass spice jar with a shaker top.

Yours in health,

Renee Koczkodan

Certified Holistic Health Coach

www.ReneeKHealthCoaching.com.

Renee’s Chicken and Bell Pepper Thin Crust Pizza

pizza

View More: http://carlymichellephotography.pass.us/reneekAs a busy health coach, who also works as a hair stylist and is taking my yoga teacher training, I am often asked what I eat on those days where I am just too busy to cook.  Even on my busiest days, I try to resist the temptation of eating out.  I know that it’s just not worth getting a quick meal in if it is going to cause me to have a stomach ache or to feel lethargic. Same thing goes for those days where I am craving comfort food, but don’t want to pay the price.  I have found that it is impossible to know what, exactly, is in my food if I don’t make it myself.  The biggest problem when it comes to craving comfort foods is finding a pizza recipe or restaurant that meets all of my elimination and candida diet requirements.  After living with these food restrictions on and off for years, I have come up with a candida and elimination friendly, tasty, quick and comforting, gluten, dairy, sugar, yeast, vinegar and mushroom free pizza.  Now I know, this probably sounds too good to be true, and to be honest, if you don’t have to adhere to these restrictions, I doubt you’ll be impressed with the end result, but for those of us that have had to live pizza free for some time, this might just seem like magic!  If you are not dairy free, use real cheese instead of the Daiya vegan cheese.  You can also alter the recipe to include any veggies you like, and if you omit the chicken, this is recipe can be vegan as well!  The other great thing about this recipe is that it only takes about 15 minutes to make.  Having this in my healthy eating tool kit really does save me on those nights that I don’t get home until late, need to eat, but just don’t have the time or energy to cook.  This is also a great example of something you could eat for lunch or dinner while on the elimination diet that my new e-book called The Path describes.  The Path is a road map to learning exactly what your food allergies or food sensitivities are, how they affect your mood and health, and how to finally take control of your energy and well-being for the long term.  Click on this link to learn more about The Path and how it can help you find true health and vitality.

pizza

Renee’s Chicken and Bell Pepper Thin Crust Pizza

Ingredients:

1 Food For Life frozen brown rice tortilla – you can find these in the frozen foods section at Whole foods or Trader Joe’s

1 tablespoon sugar free tomato sauce – I like to use Rao’s brand

1/2 cup fresh or frozen sliced bell peppers

chicken1/2 package Brat Hans Organic Chicken Breast Strips – I find these in the pre-packaged meat section at Whole Foods

1/2 cup Daiya mozzarella style shreds – found in most grocery store’s dairy section.  This is a great cheese alternative.  Simply ingredients and gooey when melted.

daiya cheese
Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees F.
  2.  Assemble your pizza in the order listed above, sprinkling the cheese or cheese alternative last over the veggies and chicken.  Tip – Go easy with the sauce, the tortilla is thin and will get soggy if you put too much on.
  3. Put the pizza on a baking sheet and place in oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the tortilla start to brown and the pizza is heated through.
  4. Place on a cutting board, slice into four sections and eat immediately.  The pizza tastes best served hot.

 

Yours in health,

Renee Koczkodan

Certified Holistic Health Coach

www.ReneeKHealthCoaching.com.

 

Baked Fish with Steamed Butternut Squash

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I came across this recipe over at Dr Mark Hyman’s page.  I just love the simplicity and ease of this dish.  Even though it couldn’t be easier to make, this recipe is sure to dazzle.  Just the colors of the fish, squash and pomegranates are enough to make me fall in love.  The way the flavors come together is comforting and delightful!  I am planning on serving this on Christmas eve.  This will work great, because not only does it meet all of my food sensitivity requirements, it is also meat-free, which is very important for a Polish Christmas Eve dinner.  An added bonus is that it is also elimination friendly!  Speaking of elimination… it’s that time of year where we all start thinking about how we’re going to drop those few pounds we’ve put on through the winter.  You might also notice that you’re feeling a bit sluggish, bloated or that your acid reflux is acting up.  I have the perfect remedy for all of that.  It’s my elimination/challenge diet that I call… The Path.  The Path is a road map to figuring out what foods might be causing you to not feel your best, once and for all.  In The Path, I break the process down into easy, understandable steps, supply elimination friendly recipes similar to the one in this blog, and suggestions for substitutions, as well as a template for food journaling.  If your are interested in checking out the path for yourself or a loved one (it makes a great gift!)  Click here, on on the link at the bottom of the page to learn more.

Back to the recipe at hand….

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Baked Fish with Steamed Butternut Squash

Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the fish

– 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

– 1 pound wild caught fish (striped bass, hake, haddock, cod, etc.)

– 2 teaspoons freshly chopped thyme

– 1 teaspoon sea salt

– 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

– 2 teaspoons paprika

– 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

For the squash

– 2 tbsp extra-virgin coconut oil
– 1 onion, thinly sliced
– 2 cups carrots peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
– 3 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
– 1 tbsp coconut butter
– 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Generously coat the fish with the olive oil. Combine the thyme, salt, pepper, and paprika, and then rub generously over the fish. Place the fish in a single layer in a baking dish. Place dish on middle rack in the oven; and bake until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. In a large pot, melt the coconut oil, then sauté the onion just until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots and squash plus ½ cup water. Steam the squash and carrots until tender. Place the steamed vegetables in a food processor and pulse to break down, then add the coconut butter and apple cider vinegar. Then puree until the consistency of mashed potatoes.
  3. Serve the fish over a good sized portion of the squash puree and sprinkle fresh pomegranate seeds over each piece of fish.

Enjoy!

If you are interested in learning more about The Path, click here, or feel e-bookfree to e-mail me with questions.  I am here to serve you, therefore I encourage any feedback or communications.  Here’s to feeling your best this coming year and always!  If you feel you need some extra support and guidance to feel and look your best, please reach out to me at info@reneekhealthcoaching.com.

Yours in health,

Renee Koczkodan

Certified Holistic Health Coach

www.ReneeKHealthCoaching.com.

info@reneekhealthcoaching.com.