Fire Cider

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Steeping Fire Cider
Fire Cider is a potent tonic
Fire Cider is an all-natural, organic herbal remedy for cold and flu but also for so much more. Although it can speed up the healing process of a cold or flu, I use it as preventative medicine to keep me and my gut healthy all winter long. Fire Cider boosts immune function, increases blood flow and oxygen delivery, breaks up mucous, and helps the body to remove wastes from tissues. As the colder months creep in and our immune systems all grow a little weaker, this powerful potion gives our gut a little kick start and warms it up so it can function at a higher level and fight against colds and flu. The word “fire” refers to the many warming ingredients in the cider that help our digestions function properly.
A healthy gut is the key to overall health
Why? All the good microbes are, for the most part, hanging out in our guts and their job is to support our immune system, protect us from diseases, and detoxify the body. This good bacteria is so important for our bodies, which is why taking antibiotics weakens our defense system. Yes, antibiotics take out the bad bacteria- which play a role in inflammation and chronic disease- but they also wipe out our good bacteria, which is vital for optimum health! Bacteria (good bacteria) is our body’s best friend, which is why I like to consume komucha, kefir, miso, and other products that contain probiotics. Don’t worry though, friends, if you drink a shot of this fire cider once or twice daily (preferably in the morning when your digestion is its clearest), you won’t need any antibiotics because you will be so incredibly healthy and feeling stellar all winter long!
So what’s in this magical stuff?
I could write for days about the beneficial properties of all the ingredients in the cider so I will just list a few of their powers. The ingredients in this cider are all warming, so essentially, they give our digestion a big bear hug when it gets cold out.

Horseradish root: pungent, deeply heating, has long been used as a diuretic, antibacterial and antiviral, aids digestion and stimulates the release of enzymes to help break down food.

Apple cider vinegar: helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level, increases energy, fights infection, detoxifies the body and liver, stimulates cardiovascular circulation, breaks up mucous throughout the body, cleanses the lymph nodes and reduces congestion.

Ginger: traditional stomach soother, relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract, immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory.

Turmeric: anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the major cause of aging, many diseases, cancer, and arthritis. Increasing the amount of anti-inflammatory ingredients in your diet (like turmeric, ginger, and omega-3 fatty acids) will help you stay young, vibrant, fresh, and active!

Raw honey: an antimicrobial agent and antioxidant. Keeps things (i.e. infections) from growing in the body. It is important to buy raw honey because it has not been heated or processed and, therefore, still contains all of its sweet minerals, phytonutrients, and antibacterial powers.

Oranges & lemons: antioxidant, antibiotic, contains vitamin C, helps absorb iron into the blood.

shotMorning shots anyone?

Fire Cider

1 quart apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s brand)

1/2 cup fresh horseradish root, grated

5-6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1/2 cup of onion, chopped

1/2 cup of fresh ginger root, grated

1/4 cup of fresh turmeric root, grated (if this is hard to find just omit and use turmeric powder in your other dishes)

juice of two oranges

juice of two lemons

1/4 cup of raw honey, dissolved in warm water

Place all ingredients except apple cider vinegar in a large glass jar (or separate evenly into several smaller glass jars). Mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate all ingredients. Pour the apple cider vinegar over the ingredients, give it a stir, and seal the glass jar(s) tightly. Place in the fridge, let steep for 4-6 weeks, and enjoy a shot or two daily!

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The brand of fire cider I used to buy before making my own. Great stuff but it gets pricey!

*4-6 weeks seems to be the ample amount of time to let the cider steep in order to get the most benefits and flavor from it, however, you can make a big batch and start taking it right away. The good news is, it will get even better and more potent with each day you take it!

*I like to take a neat shot of fire cider in the morning after my tea and before I’ve had my coffee. I don’t mind the strong flavor but it can be a little offensive to some so try adding more honey or maple syrup to your shot. I take 1-2 shots in the morning as preventative medicine.

*Fire cider is also great in marinades, dressings, Bloody Marys, or to add some zest to a big glass of lemon honey water.

Cheers to your health and keeping every piece of you warm these winter months,

)O( Sarah

manda shotMy sister taking her morning shot

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quinoa for days

raw quinoaQuinoa, the ever popular super grain. This splendid grain is popular for a reason (actually many!)- it has the highest nutritional profile and cooks the fastest of all grains. It is also a complete protein, contains more calcium than milk, is high in B vitamins, iron, zinc, and Vitamin E, is gluten-free, strengthens the kidneys, heart, and lungs, and is ideal for endurance and energy. This mother grain is also very easy to digest and is a warming food. Phew! These little colorful beads really are so full of ancient wisdom and nutritional power. Quinoa has been grown and consumed for about 8,000 years on the high plains of the Andes Mountains in South America. And now today, it has become a popular grain of choice with many uses.

Just one cup of quinoa cooked in two cups water yields four servings. I like to make a bunch and use it throughout the week, especially if I am super busy and don’t have a lot of time to cook. You can find white, red, and black quinoa but there is also a rainbow variety that I like to buy. Pretty much anything that has the word rainbow in front of it (rainbow chard, beets, carrots, etc.) I am a sucker for.

cooked quinoa

spicesCook extra quinoa to use for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Here are some examples of ways to use quinoa and make it last you at least a few days. And make use of your spices! Depending on what you like, they can add warmth, zest, or a kick to your dishes.

For dinner, I like to cook quinoa and pair it with brussels sprouts roasted with maple syrup or avocado, black beans, sweet potatoes, corn, and hot sauce. Quinoa pairs perfectly with so many different veggies and proteins so go crazy! I like to add turmeric, paprika, cumin, or curry powder to my savory quinoa dishes.

After dinner, I store my extra quinoa in an air-tight container in the fridge. Then the next morning, I combine it in a pot with oat milk (or any plant-based milk) and leave it on the stove just enough to warm it up. Then I add whatever I am in the mood for: nuts, seeds, maple syrup, almond butter, raw honey, raisins, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, cardamon. Quinoa is a higher protein subsitute for oats, so add whatever you usually like in your oatmeal.

For lunch, you can take some more leftover quinoa and make a warming soup. Combine water, miso paste, basil, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, garlic, sprouts, and seaweed in a pot and simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes. Add the already cooked quinoa and cook for another minute or two. Enjoy!

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Sometimes Simple

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Oya: Spirit of the Wind

There are days, like these, when I find myself indulging in the simple: reading about Oya, spirit of the wind {pictured above}; feeling a hoop sustain its spin around my body with only the help of slightly swirling hips; a most nourishing yoga class that reminds me to be here, in this moment, and feel no need to be anywhere else. I’ve been teaching a lot of yoga classes lately and as my practice deepens, my connection with others opens beautifully, solidifying the feeling that all is one. Like my yoga practice, food has the ability to invite me to tap into the subtleties of my body, forcing me to listen to its wisdom.  Some days that means a vigorous, playful yoga practice followed by a meal filled with many different ingredients. And other days, it means doing only a few yummy poses, melting into them with deep breaths, and then savoring a simple snack with few ingredients.

Which brings in my faithful friend and go to snack: avocado toast.

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Avocado Toast

Only five ingredients but always simple yet satisfying and indulgent. I use sprouted grain bread {I love Food for Life brand}, vegenaise, avocado, nutritional yeast and celtic sea salt. The combination of these five ingredients never fails to deliver deliciousness, plus they are packed with some positively nourishing nutrients.  The star of the snack, avocado, provides omega-3 fatty acids, bone supportive vitamin K, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C and folate.  This buttery fruit is also a great source of energy-producing vitamin B5 and potassium.  Avocado is also famous for its vitamin E content, which contains antioxidants and will make your hair and skin all purrrty.  Sprouted grain breads are a great alternative to regular white and wheat breads because they are loaded with protein and life-activating enzymes.

The deal on Nutritional Yeast

You eat yeast?? is a common response I get when I tell people about my love for nutritional yeast. Allow me to explain. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast filled with protein and B-complex vitamins. It is a complete protein and is low in fat and sodium and free of sugar, dairy, and gluten, making it a great choice for vegetarians and vegans {or anyone for that matter!} It has a great cheesy flavor and I use it on my avocado toast, eggs, pasta, popcorn, pretty much any savory dish.  Plus a little goes a long way so it lasts forever. I bought my 4.5 ounce container two months ago and I’m only about 1/6 of the way through! I also love it sprinkled on kale/swiss chard that has been cooked in coconut oil.

Speaking of swiss chard…..

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Self-Portrait: First Harvest & Proud Mama

I picked my first chard from the garden today! Talk about simple pleasures. There is nothing like walking out to your own garden for a first harvest and feeling so much pride and joy as you eat a plant you’ve cared for/watched grow for five weeks. And yes, it was worth the wait. It tasted damn good. Ahhh..mother earth, you rock.

Wishing all you beautiful people simple pleasures filled with a whole lot of indulgence, gratitude, and love,

Sarah D.

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From Farm to Smoothie

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“You ate the first one and its flesh was sweet

like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it

leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for

picking”

-Seamus Heaney, Blackberry Picking

Are there many things more rewarding, empowering and playful than picking your own food? For me, this is one of the great pleasures in life. Picking my own food evokes connection, healing and my dirt-loving inner child.  And when it gets messy, even better.

I woke up on Saturday morning to a blazing sun. As I rose out of bed I walked over to my desk and read one of my favorite poems aloud, which I had typed out on my typewriter and taped to my wall at the start of summer. Reading Blackberry Picking + finding this froyo recipe sent me out on an adventure to Charlotte Berry Farm in Charlotte, VT.  Alex and I went straight for the black raspberries. The berry plants were supported by trellis and as we walked down the grassy aisles, I hunched low and bent in to find the fat, juicy ones hiding deep in their bush.

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Three pounds later, my fingertips were stained red and I walked back to the farm stand holding my berry mounds with so much joy. We ate some on the car ride home and I thought to myself how I never wanted to wash my hands again.

I made the Green Kitchen Stories’ froyo recipe and substituted my freshly-picked black raspberries for the strawberry and rhubarb. There was nothing ripple about my froyo but it was cold and delicious and I owe that to my freezer, my berries, and to the Greek Gods full fat honey flavored yogurt. Key words: full fat.

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IMG_7340IMG_7363And then things got even sweeter…because the next day I made a SMOOTHIE with the frozen yogurt. It was one of the most delicious and satisfying smoothies I have ever made and I think part of it was because it all started at the farm with my very own hands (but let us not forget about the gorgeous berries and full fat yogurt).

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Black Raspberry Frozen Yogurt Smoothie:

1 cup black raspberry frozen yogurt

1/2 banana

1 tbsp. hemp protein powder

1/4-1/3 cup orange juice

1 tbsp. flax seeds

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender and enjoy!

Cheers to indulging in the cool & yummy during this summer heat,

Sarah D.

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Cooling Blue Smoothie

blue smoothie

It is HOT here in Vermont. And not just hot but sticky. Chances are, it is where you are too. During these hot summer days, I am relishing in these things: riding downhill on my bike, fans, the hose and, most of all, smoothies!

I’ve come to realize how much I love smoothies. The thought of making one in the morning sets my day off just right. I love how they are super simple, require no measurements, can be tailored if the taste or texture isn’t to your liking, and they are creative & colorful! I just can’t get enough of these liquid dreams. I have a hunch that the smoothie will be a main character on my blog this summer.

This cooling blue smoothie gets its color from frozen blueberries. Blueberries hold a whole host of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries offer these benefits: cancer prevention, eye health, cardiovascular health, improved cognitive health, a slowing down of the aging process and blood sugar regulation. These beautiful berries are da bomb and the frozen kind make this smoothie sweet and cooling.

Cooling Blue Smoothie

adjust measurements to your liking

Milk (cow, almond, soy, etc.)

Banana

Frozen blueberries

Honey

Hemp protein powder

Flax seeds or flax meal

Chia seeds

Sesame seeds

Sunflower seeds

*You can leave out the seeds if you want but adding them gives you even more amazing benefits– calcium, fiber, omega 3’s, protein, vitamin E, just to name a few.

 

What are you relishing in this summer? Let me know in the comment box! And if you have a dreamy smoothie recipe, I’d love to hear it.

 

Stay cool,

Sarah

 

 

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DIY Nut Butters

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When I started making my own nut butters, it was a revolutionary experience. They are easy, fast, delicious, and instantly gratifying. There is nothing quite like dipping your spoon into a food processor full of warm, gooey, roasted nut butter. Making them at home means you can make any nut or seed into butter and you can make hybrids too [hazelnut/almond is delish!]

When making almond butter, I roast the nuts for 20-25 minutes before putting them in the food processor. For cashew butter/cream, I soak the cashews in filtered water for at least four hours. Cashew cream is a beautiful thing, for real. You can add less water to make cashew frosting, add more water to make a cream, and add even more water if you want cashew milk. Adding a few dates to the cashew cream adds some extra yummy lovin’ and it’s raw!

Tips:

*It is important to soak or roast your seeds/nuts before you butter em’ up. Some of the many benefits of soaking/roasting seeds include: neutralize enzyme inhibitors, encourage the production of beneficial enzymes, increase the amount of vitamins [especially B vitamins], break down gluten and make digestion easier, increase protein absorption.

*Try any seeds or nuts, play around and find your favorite one! [hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts…]

*After soaking/roasting nuts or seeds, place in food processor and processor on high for a minute or so. Scrape down sides of food processor and keep processing on high until a butter forms. Be patient! Suddenly and magically, the oils from the nuts with release and silky smooth nut butter will appear before your eyes. Get your spoon ready for a toasty dip.

Cheers to the beauty of simplicity and our nutty tendencies,

Sarah D.

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*So the blog has kind of been on hiatus for a bit. I have been busy moving back from Europe and moving to Burlington, VT. Summer in Burlington has been truly magical so far and filled with lots of yoga teaching, nature, exploration, and locally farmed foods! Excited to share some Vermont love with y’all this summer. Get ready for some super smoothies and fresh juices (:*

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Single serving cherry-pistachio crumble

IMG_5584When I was younger I always used to say to my parents, “Pwetty please with a cherry on top?” I also have fond memories of eating cherry flavored popsicles by the pool, being left with two red sticky parentheses outlining the corners of my mouth and licking them away with my bright red tongue.

Cherries are popping up at the farmer’s market and not only do they bring me back to my childhood but they are also a sign that summer is coming!! I have always loved the flavor of cherries–slightly sweet and slightly sour–plus I am a sucker for a deep red color (beets, I miss you dearly). These bad boys are also hard to pit without a cherry pitter, which is why this recipe turned into a single serving one, although I did just find this nifty video.

Cherries and pistachios pair really well together in this easy getting-excited-for-summer crumble. I used coconut oil in this recipe but ghee would also work really well (perhaps even better) in place of the butter component.  The best part is when you can hear the mixture bubbling in the oven and baked cherries perfume the kitchen. I will definitely be baking more fresh fruit crumbles in the coming months. Summer, see you soon!

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Single Serving Cherry-Pistachio Crumble

Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients:

3/4 cup fresh, pitted cherries or frozen cherries, thawed

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp + 1 tsp flour

2 tbsp + 1 tsp. brown sugar

2 tbsp rolled oats

1/4 cup shelled pistachios

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

pinch salt

2 tbsp coconut oil or ghee, melted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 4″ deep dish tartlet pan with coconut oil.

2. In the tartlet pan, mix cherries with 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp brown sugar, and 1 tsp flour. Set aside.

3. In a food processor, pulse remaining brown sugar, flour, oats, pistachios, cardamom, and salt until pistachios become finely chopped.

4. Stir in coconut oil or ghee until a crumble forms.

5. Spread crumble over cherry mixture. Bake in the oven until cherry mixture bubbles and the crumble topping becomes brown, 20-25 minutes. Serve warm by itself or with vanilla ice cream.

A warm cherry cheers,

Sarah D.

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Market Things & Gluten-Free Pizza

marketthingsThe outdoor market is one of the highlights of my week. It’s my chance to pick up some plump Medjool dates, pick out bunches of fresh veggies, and get my hands on some amazing Italian cheese. It’s also a great chance to practice Italian with the local merchants. Today is that much brighter after buying fresh flowers, carrots, spring garlic, spring onions, and fennel.

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To be honest, I had only eaten fennel a handful of times before coming to Italy, and boy, was I missing out. Fennel is a staple in Italian cooking and I am so grateful for the different versions I have been exposed to. I adore fennel’s slight liquorice flavor and its wonderful versatility. It is great raw or cooked, added to salads for some crunch, or baked in the oven with some cheese, breadcrumbs, and fresh herbs. Fennel sauteed with coconut oil, raisins, and pine nuts is heavenly. Fennel is anti-inflammatory, aids in digestion, and contains vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.

I am also discovering the magic of fennel seeds, which add delicious depth and flavor to sauces and soups. Sometimes I even nibble on them to freshen my breath. I recently made this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories and wooooah baby was it packed with amazing flavor!

fennel spring garliccoatedfennel

I left the market feeling some powerful fennel inspiration and so I decided to make this gluten-free pizza with caramelized fennel and goat cheese for my host family. I joked to my host mother that I must be breaking some sort of Italian law with this gluten-free crust but it turns out they loved it! I mean, can you really go wrong with sweet caramelized fennel and goat cheese?

GFpizza

Gluten-Free Fennel & Goat Cheese Pizza

Inspired by My New Roots’ recipe

Makes one medium-sized pizza

Ingredients for topping:

1 large fennel bulb

1 large tomato [optional]

1/2 cup soft goat cheese

olive or coconut oil

2-3 tbsp. fennel seeds

2 tbsp. balsamic glaze [can also use honey or maple syrup]

sea salt

bunch of arugula

Gluten-free crust:

1 small head cauliflower

1 egg

3/4-1 cup shredded mozzarella

sea salt

2 tsp. herbs of choice [I used oregano and garlic]

Directions for crust:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with olive or coconut oil.

2. Wash and dry the head of cauliflower and then cut off the florets. Place the florets in a food processor and process until cauliflower resembles rice. Place in a bowl and microwave for 5-6 minutes.

3. While cauliflower is cooking, mix the egg, cheese, salt and herbs in a separate bowl until combined. Drain cooked cauliflower in a sieve, pressing with a spoon to drain as much water from the cauliflower as possible. Add the cooked cauliflower to the egg & cheese mixture and mix well.

4. Spread mixture onto the covered baking sheet and spread until your preferred thickness [I like mine to resemble more of a flatbread]. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool.

Directions for topping:

1. While crust is cooking, prepare the topping. Wash fennel and remove fronds. Cut vertically into thin slices.

2. Heat coconut or olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Place fennel on the pan, making sure the pieces are flat and not overlapping. Sprinkle with sea salt.

3. Wait for the fennel to become golden-brown on the underside and then flip the pieces over. Let the other side become golden-brown.

4. Add the fennel seeds and balsamic glaze to the pan and toss to coat. Cook fennel for another minute and remove from pan.

Assembly:

1. Once the crust has cooled, drizzle with olive oil. Lay the fennel pieces on top [and slices of tomato if using] then place pieces of goat cheese evenly over the top.

2. Bake in the oven for another 3-5 minutes or until the goat cheese has slightly browned. Remove from oven and dress with fresh arugula.

Enjoy lovelies,

Sarah D.

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