Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Wraps with Red Pepper Salsa (Dairy Free, Gluten Free, + Paleo)

Slow Cooker Paleo Chicken, Thai style, with Red Pepper Salsa, by Marisa Moon of My Longevity Kitchen

My Inspiration…

This slow cooker paleo chicken recipe uses almond butter, lime, ginger, and coconut aminos to make the perfect asian chicken wraps for the week.

Slow cookers can be such a lifesaver in the kitchen. I’m always telling people about how much I love using them.

But many of you have horror stories about your slow cooker dinners ending up in the trash. Maybe it’s because a lot of recipes use cookie cutter cooking times—such as 8 hours on low and 6 hours on high—but not all recipes turn out well with that amount of time.

Another reason your results don’t turn out? Let’s face it…there are about 500 different slow cookers on the market, and they range in shape, size, and efficiency. So it’s quite possible that our slow cookers are so different that you get a different result. Hang in there.

It’s worth figuring out what the problem is because these machines are AWESOME! You can slow cook while you sleep, while you work, and use it to keep food warm at a party (that’s how my family rocks out all the Thanksgiving sides on a buffet table).

And slow cooking is how food wants to be cooked. Allowing the food to slowly be broken down, flavors to be mingling over time, and juices releasing in a natural flow yields a dish that always hits home.

Did you know that slow cooking is the most nutritious way to cook? The foods are cooked at a lower temperature which preserves many of the nutrients. This is also a more traditional method Continue reading

Nutty Butter Collagen Bars

Nutty Butter Collagen Bars that are Paleo Dairy Free and Keto / Low Carb. By Marisa Moon of My Longevity Kitchen.

Yesterday was pretty fun…  

I shot my first Facebook Live cooking video alongside Chicago Biohacking Expert Anthony Diclementi.  Anthony, a long time acquaintance and Hi-Vibe Ambassador, invited me into his kitchen for an informal live video about how to make my Nutty Butter Collagen Bars, all while we laughed and discussed why eating real food is so awesome.  Watch the video to see Anthony’s reaction to my peanut butter substitution, and to see how you can make these low-carb, fudgy bars in 15 minutes Continue reading

Codfish Green Chili with Swiss Chard & Sprouted Lentils

No time to read the full post?  Listen here to the audio version: 

 

Green lentil codfish

If you love tangy lime, cilantro, and a warm bowl of chili (who doesn’t?), you’ll love this spicy green chili that’s packed with leafy greens, protein, and gusto!  The weather has been teetering in and out of single digits here in Chicago & Indiana, and now it’s freezing rain and yuck.  I could seriously eat soup or chili Every. Single. Day.  Did I tell you this is a slow cooker chili recipe?  Ahhhhh, the beauty of convenience (especially when you’re in hibernation mode).  

My Inspiration…

This is a recipe from the exclusive E-cookbook I created for the My6Method fitness participants.  I have to start swapping out old recipes for some new ones, so I thought I should finally share one with YOU!

What’s My6Method, you ask?  It’s a rewarding health coaching program where people participate in a 3 or 6 week diet and lifestyle overhaul guided by the personal trainer and former fitness competitor named Adrienne Hanover.  Adrienne and I have been long time friends; she was even a bridesmaid in my ridiculously large wedding!  Adrienne has successfully led hundreds of clients through fat-shedding transformations with her dairy-free, alcohol-free, low sugar, low grain diet program because she does things differently.  She critiques their food journals twice a week with some real talk, compassion, and expert advice; she provides you with an extensive manual to guide you through her recommendations and how to balance your macros depending on your specific fitness levels; she takes before and after pics for recording your progress, and of course she provides you with endless fitness ideas and inspiration.  You don’t even have to live in the area; you can do everything online!  Check out her website here.  Another cool thing she does with the program is to provide a community for challengers to share their motivations, questions, and concerns together in a Facebook group where Adrienne and I both get involved.  Adrienne came to me in late 2015 asking if I’d like to partner up with My6Method because she knew we were on a similar path with health and nutrition, and more importantly, she wanted help creating exclusive recipes for anyone who signs up.  That’s where this recipe comes into the picture. I made a 60 page full color e-book with breakfast lunch and dinner ideas, all for the M6M participants. Since the release of the cookbook I have added new recipes every season!  Eventually I can share some of my older recipes with you, just like this codfish chili!

Sprouted Lentil Codfish Green Chili by My Longevity Kitchen

I don’t think people make seafood chili often enough.  Or ever.  I made this recipe because I wanted to show people three things: how effortless a seafood meal can be, how and why you’d want to introduce sprouted lentils into your diet, and how to pack a ridiculous amount of veggies into one meal for the whole fam—assuming your family is like mine and loves flavor explosions and spicy food.  Who’s with me?


Longevity tips…

Sprouted Lentils:

The key to making the healthiest chili here is to use SPROUTED green lentils.  Sprouted lentils are just lentils that are prepared the old-fashioned way (make note that sprouted lentils are probably the most nutritious and safest legume to eat).  Really they are soaked lentils, maybe sprouted like the video, but most-importantly they are soaked for several hours before cooking.  Why?  All beans, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds contain anti-nutrients that are toxic to all mammals when consumed regularly for long periods of time; especially when they are hastily prepared.  Some of these anti-nutrients include phytic acid, which I go into detail about in my last post called “The Truth About Overnight Oats“, and lectins, which we’ll discuss now…

Lectins are a category of plant chemicals that are concentrated in the seed of the plant, which is the actual lentil in this case.  Seeds produce certain lectins to protect themselves from harm (insects, microorganisms, and UV rays), and many of the toxic lectins damage our intestinal tract as they pass through our system undigested.  We cannot break them down in our body, and they trick our cells into incorporating them into normal cellular functions.  Because of this, long-term lectin consumption often leads to leaky gut, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), heartburn, migraines, allergies, arthritis, and eventually autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia or hashimotos thyroiditis.  Some of the most common reactions include gas and bloating—symptoms we consider normal and just live with.  Do you ever wonder where the gas and bloating is coming from?  Do you believe it is something you can actually control, and avoid?  You can.

A key way to avoid these consequences, and promote long-term health, is to switch to sprouted legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains (fermented grains are even better; but grains are complicated and I am not ready to get into it.  Eat grains sparingly or read this to learn more).  It’s extremely important to consider this change for whichever foods in this category you eat most often.  For instance, if you eat a lot of bread, pasta or treats, read that article I just linked to above to learn how you can possibly make them a health food; if you eat a lot of nuts then start buying sprouted/soaked nuts or make your own; if you eat a lot of beans, listen up and I’ll tell you what to do below.  If you’re not willing to spend more on brands that sprout them for you, then you should try doing it yourself…the old-fashioned way.  And if you’re not willing to do either then you can join the massive Paleo camp who generally avoids all legumes and grains.  Forever.  Doesn’t sound fun does it?  So here’s how you can enjoy lentils, broken down into three categories from the best—most nutritious way, to the least sufficient way Continue reading

The Truth About Overnight Oats

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What's wrong with overnight oats, and how to prepare them in the most nutritious way. Recipe included! By Marisa Moon of My Longevity Kitchen

Somebody got this trend all wrong. 

Well, not ALL wrong…but they messed up the only step in the recipe!  We shouldn’t be soaking our overnight oats in the refrigerator, we should be soaking them with warm water, at room temperature—or even warmer.  And would you believe that cooking the oats afterwards actually makes them even MORE nutritious.  This is not a food you want to eat raw.  Let me break down the basics for you…

Our ancestors ate whole grains after soaking them or fermenting them.  Over time they figured out that this was how grains needed to be prepared—in order to avoid illness.  It was probably thanks to serendipity that they figured this out back then because there weren’t any refrigerators…food was just left out.  But as generations passed, and food culture diminished, we have been hastily preparing our grains…and we’ve even gone as far as thinking they are best uncooked!  This is flat out wrong.  

Did you know that the oatmeal box, back in the day, used to say “soak overnight” in the directions?  What happened to that?

You see, all grains contain something called “phytic acid”—or phytates—in the outer layer or bran, and oats contain more phytates than almost any other grain.  So, if this phytic acid is untreated, it will combine with important minerals in our body and block their absorption.  I’m talking about calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper.  We need these minerals, and our food supply is providing less and less of them because of modern farming methods.  We should take every precaution to protect the minerals that are still available to us.  Regular consumption of improperly prepared grains (also legumes, and nuts) can lead to mineral deficiencies, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, bone loss, food allergies, and even mental illness.  

Go Raw brand chart why to soak/sprout seeds
Illustration by Go Raw and EatDrinkShrink.com

So what’s the proper way to prepare these grains? 

The process is simple really.  All we need to do is soak the whole grains overnight at room temperature, or even warmer!  It helps tremendously if you add an acid starter like liquid whey, kefir, yogurt, or even lemon juice.  Allow the natural enzymes and other helpful organisms to begin fermenting the grains, for 7-24 hours, and this will neutralize a large portion of the phytic acid.  Soaking in warm, acidic or cultured water not only gets rid of this mineral-blocking substance, but it also releases all of the vitamins in grains, and encourages more healthy digestion by partially breaking down some of the proteins (like gluten).  Win Win, all around!  Finish your oatmeal by cooking for a quick 5-10 minutes (more on that in the recipe at the end of this post). 

The Truth About Overnight Oats
Pouring liquid whey into my soaking oats

Spread the word to those we care about.  

Oatmeal is one of those things that people eat habitually…every single morning.  That’s why it’s important to spread the word.  Although I do not usually consume oatmeal, or most grains, I felt the need to focus on this recipe because many of my closest friends and family are enjoying oatmeal on a regular basis.  My goal with My Longevity Kitchen is to help explain how we can maximize the nutrients in our food, and minimize toxins.  And my passion lies in the ways of our ancestors, and their time-honored traditional cooking methods.  Oatmeal can be nutritious, or quite the opposite.  I hope you’ve learned a thing or two on how to make it truly nourishing.   Here are some more tips for you, and the recipe!

A nourishing recipe for properly prepared overnight oats with cinnamon, banana, and pecans. By Marisa Moon of My Longevity Kitchen

Continue reading

Healing Dandelion Greens Stew

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Healing Dandelion Greens Stew Recipe by My Longevity Kitchen. Made with nourishing bone broth, dried ancho chilies, potato, lemon, and optional parmigiano reggiano

My Inspiration…

One of the first, most-interesting soups I ever made was a braised dandelion greens recipe by Top Chef Master, Chris Cosentino.  It was bitter, and spicy, and full of dimension.  It’s not for everyone, but that’s okay.  This recipe is for anyone who appreciates bitter greens like rapini (broccoli rabe), frisse, escarole, and of course dandelion greens.  The way Chris paired the greens with ancho chilies, lemon, olive oil, and true parmigiano reggiano just spoke to me.  This is totally my language.  

Chris Cosentino Braised Dandelion

I’ve made it time and time again, swaying a bit from the recipe to make it compliant with my food and lifestyle choices.  For instance, he suggests a crusty piece of bread on the bottom of your bowl so it will soak up all of the dandelion broth…and I know that sounds heavenly.  But, I don’t really eat bread any more.  I eat it on special occasions if it’s gluten free, or if I’m in the mood for a burger with a real bun—but otherwise I avoid it.  So, I started adding potatoes to the soup instead.  Bitter greens and potatoes are a popular combo with Italians, so that one was a no-brainer.  I also changed the chicken broth base to a bone broth base, and the combination of bone broth with dandelion greens is what makes this recipe especially healing.  Interested in Chris Cosentino’s cookbook?  It’s called Beginnings – My Way To Start A Meal.  It’s a beautiful book full of vegetables, cured meats, and artisanal cheeses; and it’s organized by seasons to highlight year-round ingredients for appetizers and small bites. 


Longevity Tips… 

Bone Broth My Longevity Kitchen

Bone Broth:

If you are a vegetarian then don’t worry, this soup can be made with water, or vegetable stock, and still turn out great!  But for everyone else, let’s talk about bone broth.  That’s possibly the main reason I called this recipe “Healing Dandelion Stew”; it’s the bone broth that makes it especially healing.  The name “Bone Broth” either gets you excited, or Continue reading

Probiotic Guacamole

Get your daily dose of probiotics using sauerkraut brine and fermented veggies in this Probiotic Guacamole by Marisa Moon of My Longevity Kitchen

My Inspiration…

Getting your daily dose of probiotics through food doesn’t get any easier than this guacamole recipe…welllll, unless of course you’re just eating the sauerkraut out of the jar.  You might be blown away by this recipe concept here, or you’ll be like me and say “why didn’t I think of this sooner?”. 

I always felt bad dumping a jar of sauerkraut juice or brine after I finished the nourishing veggies.  Ever since I read the back of the bag of sauerkraut by Farmhouse Culture a year ago, I realized I need to put that sauerkraut brine to use!  If you think about it, that brine is really just salt water with a tart/sour taste– thanks to the healthy probiotic bacteria that occur during the fermentation process used to make the kraut.   Why would we dump it down the drain when we can use it in other foods and continue to reap the benefits?  

Ever since realizing this, I have been putting it in everything from guacamole to tuna salads.   Continue reading

My Top 15 Products from Paleo f(x) ’16

Paleo fx 2016 top products

I feel so lucky being able to visit Austin for THE Paleo conference, working alongside passionate foodies, and visionary leaders whom I admire.  

Paleo Magazine Radio Paleo fx 2016  I had an exciting moment when it was time to announce the Best New Blog of the Year because I was a nominee!  Even though I didn’t win, I was already feeling so accomplished after being voted into to the top 4 new blogs.  On the day leading up to the awards ceremony, I had the chance to speak with Tony Federico, the host of Paleo Magazine Radio, and do a short impromptu interview about my experience at PFX.  You can find my interview on the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast here.  (I’m the first interview which starts at 2 minutes in.)  

Okay, on to my favorite products!

I’m still going gaga over some products I purchased at paleo f(x), and I knew I had to share them with you!  I’m going to keep it as brief as possible, on some items more than others, because if I try to explain each item and all of the benefits, I’d be writing this post for 12 days straight.  So, if you have any questions about each item please comment below or just click the product photo to head over to the company’s site.  


Artisan Tropics – Cassava Strips

Vegan, Grain-free, Diary-free, Soy-free, Non-GMO Cassava Strips by Artisan Tropics  

These chips or strips are pretty awesome.  If you’ve given up on chips because you believe there’s no such thing as a healthy chip, then think again!  Continue reading

Butternut Squash Breakfast Bowl

breakfast bowl

My Inspiration…

It may be difficult at first to imagine your breakfast without grains, but there are plenty of foods to replace the standard oatmeal breakfast.  Winter squash is available all year round and makes for a great base in this versatile breakfast.   

If you’ve been following me since January 2016, you would have heard that I created an e-cookbook for participants in the 6-week fitness and diet program called My6Method.  This ebook helps My6Method (M6M for short) clients stick to the recommended food list, and get cookin’!  This cookbook is exclusive to the M6M participants, but soon I’ll be replacing winter recipes with warm-weather recipes.  That’s why I decided to share a recipe with you…the Butternut Squash Breakfast Bowl!

Cover Final Green jpeg

 


Longevity Tips…

I created this recipe to show oatmeal-lovers that there is a grain-free alternative they will love just the same!   It’s important for me to point out that I believe protein is a significant part of a healthy breakfast, as well as keeping sugary carbs or flour-based foods to a minimum (the only instance I believe protein is not important at breakfast is if you practice intermittent fasting and have a breakfast full of healthy fats, like with bulletproof coffee).   A higher protein breakfast will set you up for a day full of satiation and clear thinking.  Studies show that protein-rich breakfasts reduce cravings and overeating throughout the day.  

That being said, I highly recommend enjoying this butternut breakfast bowl alongside some scrambled eggs & quality bacon (made from pork that is pasture-raised and antibiotic free), or try a simple grass-fed whey protein shake to get your protein in without filling up too much.  

Reserveage full size

Here’s my favorite brand of vanilla grass-fed whey at an affordable price.  You can find it on amazon by clicking the photo or previous link, and Amazon usually has the best price!  You’ll also see this at many Whole Foods Market stores.    


It’s Time To Cook…

Butternut Breakfast Bowl

I’ll show you how to roast a whole butternut squash, saving you time and effort…have you ever tried slicing raw winter squash?  Difficult.  So, let’s skip that step.  This whole-roasted squash technique results in an extra sweet, irresistible flavor that’s perfect with breakfast.   Continue reading

Potato Leek Frittata with Dill & Creamy Mustard Dipping Sauce (Dairy-Free)

 

Frittata main

My Inspiration

Did you know you can make anything into a frittata?  ANYTHING, I tell you!
It’s so flippin’ easy to make frittata…even when you flip it out of the pan after baking it.  Easy!  You’ll be impressed how much flavor and familiarity comes out of this recipe.  Leeks are a thing of the past for most home cooks today, but here you’ll find they really shine with yukon potatoes, eggs from pastured hens, and delicate sprigs of fresh dill.  And the best part about all frittatas?!?  Well…the best part comes in layers…

You can put anything in a frittata (I know, I already said that)

You can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner

It’s so delicious room temperature AND cold!  This is a fact people:  frittata is arguably better when it’s NOT warm.  I don’t know why, I just know it’s true.  


Longevity Tips

Butter, from grass-fed cows

Butter is making a comeback!  People are starting to realize that fats originating in nature, with the least amount of processing, are the healthiest fats there will ever be.  Butter, from grass-fed cows, is rich in important vitamins and amino acids that optimize our brain-function and can even protect us from heart disease!  It’s important to understand that there is a huge difference from grass-fed butter to conventional butter because when the cows eat grass, they convert those plant nutrients into nutrients that are essential for humans!  

Just look at the color difference…grass-fed butter is yellow, and conventional butter is white.  The former gets its rich color from the beta-carotene (vitamin A) content,  Grass-fed butter is available at almost every grocery store now, so it’s time to make the switch.  Look out for brands like Kerrygold, Organic Valley (pasture-raised), Anchor, and Vital Farms.  Want to learn more about the benefits of grass-fed butter?  I love this article by Authority Nutrition.  

Eggs, from pasture-raised hens

Have you noticed that there are new egg cartons popping up on the grocery store shelves, and they are nearly twice the price of standard eggs?  If you haven’t joined the bandwagon yet, you’re probably looking at those fancy eggs like “there’s no way I’m payin’ $7 for a carton of eggs!”.  An egg from a hen that lives outdoors, under the sun, and able to roam in the soil, eating grubs and bugs galore; that’s a completely different food than a conventional egg!  Continue reading

Sweet Potatoes & Sauerkraut FAQs

 

baked sweet potatoes

I’ve been diggin’ the sweet potato collection lately at my supermarket. 

Have you branched out and tried the different color sweet potatoes?  Most of them are more closely related to a yam…which is a good thing!  They have lower sugar content and are less hybridized.  

Hybridize: Crossbreeding; (of an animal or plant) breed with an individual of another species or variety.

Most of our favorite fruits and veggies have been hybridized to yield a sweeter, larger fruit.  I like to shop for more heirloom and wild varieties because I know they pack the most nutrients, and have the least sugar.  

Sweet Potatoes raw cropThese 3 sweet-potato-yammy-thingies are all quite different.  My favorite is probably the Hannah (blonde on the far right), or Japanese (redhead in the center).  Hannah is probably the least sweet of them all, and truly tastes like a cross between a yukon and a yam.  The Japanese sweet potato in the center is sort of squash like, but still with a mild sweet potato sweetness.  

The purple is my favorite to look at, and I know there are tons of antioxidants in there because of the color…but this one isn’t the best for roasting because it’s more dry and “thick” compared to the rest.  When you roast it, it’s almost like eating a spoon full of peanut butter…it’s a mouthful and you need a glass of water!  I like to roast because it’s convenient and I can save the roasted veggies for a bunch of different recipes later this week (I often use my sweet potatoes to pan fry with eggs).  If you like the purple sweet potatoes, try roasting them around 350 degrees and wrapping them in foil.  This will help keep the moisture in!  Otherwise cooking them in a soup is a good idea.  

Welp…

I’m gonna keep this post short because it’s not really a recipe.  I just figured I’d give you a peek into my kitchen when I’m prepping or cooking whatever is left in the fridge! 

I preheated the oven at 400 fahrenheit, and I loaded a pan up with these potatoes (and some other goodies I’ll get to in a sec).  DON’T POKE HOLES IN YOUR SWEET POTATOES.  Sweet potatoes won’t explode while baking, so there’s no need to poke holes.  This keeps the moisture and sweetness inside to steam and caramelize.   

 

While you’re at it, you might as well throw some roasted garlic and jalapeño packs on that pan too.  Not too long after this photo I snuck an Italian eggplant on the tray.  Just poke holes in the eggplant with a fork (yes for eggplant, no for sweet potatoes), and stick it right on the pan.    

After cutting open the eggplant, you can scoop out most of the seeds, drizzle with olive oil and season with plenty of salt, pepper and parsley.  You can eat it just like that or blend it all up if you’d like to make a dip!  Add some oil and lemon and voila!  

Let’s get ready to load ’em taters up!  

baked sweet potatoes
Top to Bottom: Japanese w/ Kraut & Jalapeño; Hannah w/Roasted Garlic, Butter, Basil; Purple with Lime Mayo, Mexican Spices, Cilantro

 

baked japanese

 

My favorite toppings were Sauerkraut & Roasted Jalapeño!  This was a slammin’ combo that I will do again and again.  I used Bubbie’s Sauerkraut that is made without the classic caraway seeds; this makes for a more versatile sauerkraut that you can put on anything.  I change it up and sometimes get the “Fair ‘N By” Sauerkraut by The Brinery.  They both are only made with cabbage, sea salt, and time.  If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m always pushing fermented foods like sauerkraut.  We NEED this beneficial bacteria, AKA probiotics, in our daily diet; and variety is the way to go!  Try new sauerkraut brands and flavors whenever you get the chance.  I’m starting to see Farmhouse Culture Brand krauts at all the health food stores.  These are sold in BAG!  My favorite flavor is the horseradish & leek.  

 

 

 

Sauerkraut FAQs

Q: Can’t I just take probiotic supplements?  

A: I take these too, but the probiotics in fermented foods are better.  Fermented foods are readily recognized, and utilized in our body.  Probiotic supplements are relatively new, there’s not enough understanding on them yet, and they don’t necessarily reach the digestive tract where we need them to take effect.  That’s why fermented foods are even better.  These have been used in the human diet for most of our human existence; and they play a huge role in our digestive ability, our intestinal integrity, our brain function, and especially our immune systems.  I take probiotic supplements periodically to introduce different bacteria strains which are not present in fermented foods.  

Q: Where do I find sauerkraut?

A:  You can find sauerkraut and fermented foods in a cooler at your grocery store, typically near the vegan meat & cheese substitutes.  Only purchase the refrigerated sauerkraut (& kimchi) because then you know you’re getting food with live-active cultures (cultures are the beneficial bacteria/probiotics)

Q:  What if I buy it and I hate it?

A:  The best part about fermented foods is that we have an innate desire to eat these foods.  So even if you don’t like it at first, just try about a tablespoon each day, and you’ll truly grow to love it!  If you just hate the certain flavor you purchased (krauts come in all different flavors now!), then you can throw it into a cooked dish were it loses its probiotic benefits, but it turns into a tender, flavorful veggie which contains more readily available vitamins and minerals (compared to using the same ingredient in unfermented form).  Ever have brats/sausage cooked with warm sauerkraut?  Much more mild than the refrigerated kind.  Don’t forget the juice…sauerkraut juice is where a lot of the benefits are at.  You can drink a shot of it or add a shot to your salads to get the same probiotic benefits as eating it.

Q:  How long will it last in my fridge?

A:  Fermented foods have a long refrigerated life.  Depending how much you open the jar, if you use clean utensils to dip in the jar, and how full the jar is, it can last around 6 months or so after opening!  Every jar has an expiration date on it as well.  If the sauerkraut smells bad when you open it, or has too much pressure building up inside, you can just cook with it  so it doesn’t go to waste.  This is typical for Koreans to do with kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage), as well as Polish and German Sauerkrauts; they add it to their traditional soups and stews to kill off the sour-expired taste, and utilize the healthy vegetables.  

Q:  What other ways can I use my kraut?

A:  Try your sauerkraut in salads, on deviled eggs, in wraps or sandwiches, and even in your guacamole!  Use the liquid in place of vinegar in your dressings.  My family loves a side of sauerkraut or kimchi with our breakfast, but it’s on our plate as a side dish with almost every single meal.  

Have you embraced fermented foods yet?  Tell me about it below!   

 

Make-Ahead Stir Fry Sauce

My Inspiration…

While thumbing around my Pinterest feed, I came across “The BEST Stir Fry Sauce” by the blogger behind Tastes Lovely.  I liked the idea that this post was just for the sauce.  The sauce is key.  To me, stir fry is like frittata…there are hardly any rules, and ANYTHING can go in it.  So why not just make a recipe for the stir fry sauce and change up the dish with different veggies and protein.  Great idea Natalie! 

I had a crazy week, and I knew a pre-made sauce would save my butt when dinner had to get on the table in 15 minutes (and it did)!  Eric loved it and said it tastes like something from Chinese takeout.  Maybe I should have called this Chinese Takeout Stir Fry Sauce?  Nahhhh.  

P.S. I’m back into Pinterest and I am loving it!  I had too many sites to focus on for a while there so I sort of left Pinterest behind in the dust.  I realized it was time for me to get back in the pinning game once I started sharing boards with friends.  It’s fun to share boards!  If you haven’t started Pinterest yet, you totally should!  Find me there at www.pinterest.com/LongevityKitch (ughhh pinterest why wouldn’t you let me choose a handle with more characters?) and let’s share ideas! 


Longevity Tips…

I’d love to tell you about the ingredients I chose for my version of this Make-Ahead Stir Fry Sauce!  

Tamari:

Tamari Lite

Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Tamari.  Tamari is basically soy sauce, but more legit.  Modern Soy Sauce has WHEAT as the main ingredient— often preceding even Soy on the ingredient list.  That’s a bunch of hooey, and we want our soy sauce made from soy and salt…NOT WHEAT.  I should begin to clarify something however; I usually tell people to stay away from Soy.  There’s a lot to be said on the subject, but just hear this:  Soy is a profitable crop for America to grow and utilize, so they want us to believe it’s healthy and they want to put it in everything (same goes for wheat and corn).  The main problem is that soy mimics estrogen in the body and really throws our hormonal system out of whack; putting us at risk for thyroid problems, cancer, infertility, and all kinds of stuff that sucks.  In countries like Japan & China, they use soy as a condiment and they would never consider it their main source of protein.  50% of the soy they eat is fermented, and they have a drastically different diet than us Americans, and their diet is much richer in micronutrients.  There are a few forms of fermented soy that you may be familiar with: Soy Sauce, Tempeh, & Miso, among others.  I recommend including these foods in your diet on occasion and skipping all other forms of unfermented soy.  If you have children, an autoimmune disease, or are trying to conceive, keep yourself and your children as far away from soy as you can.  To learn more about the many dangers of unfermented soy, read this.  

Coconut Aminos is a great alternative for people avoiding all types of soy.  It’s like soy sauce, but sweeter.  You can find coconut aminos at most health food supermarkets in the Asian section, or you can order all of the products I recommend online through Thrive Market.    

                                               

The good news is, you can buy Tamari Lite at the grocery stores now!  Get your hands on some Tamari Lite or Tamari Low-Sodium. The Non-GMO certification (or Organic) is great because we know the soy plant wasn’t sprayed with the same deadly chemicals they use on GMO soy. Get it? Got it? Good.

Benefits of Coconut-Palm-Sugar

Coconut Sugar / AKA Coconut Palm Sugar

I’m totally into this stuff.  I don’t use it a lot, because it’s still sugar.  But it’s minimally processed (only 2 steps!), and delivers less of a spike in our blood sugar than nearly any other sugar available.  It tastes like brown sugar!  No, it doesn’t taste like coconut.  You can find bags of this in the baking aisle or online, so go get some!

Potato Starch / Arrowroot / Tapioca Starch / Cassava Flour

Starch helps to thicken your sauce like the gravy at a chinese restaurant!  These are smart swaps for corn starch, if you ask me.  Corn starch is always GMO unless you buy organic or Non-GMO verified (this is a problem because of the dangerous chemicals they spray on the GMO plants, and the toxins the GMO corn produces to keep away insects.)  Corn Starch is also insanely processed, and did you know corn is not even a digestible grain?  We literally can not digest it.  I know it’s sad; you like corn on the cob.  Who doesn’t?  Anyways, I’m not here to tell you you can’t eat corn on the cob…I’m here to tell you what you should be using in place of corn starch (for the love of heart health and all things healthy: throw away your corn oil). 

Potato Starch, Arrowroot, Tapioca Starch/Flour, and Cassava flour are all awesome alternatives to corn starch.  These starches are perfect for thickening soups and gravies, and you can even make a batter with them and fry up some goodies (arrowroot is the most pricey, and the most particular of them all.  So I only recommend arrowroot if you have other recipes to try that call for it).  My family made fried Calamari and all sorts of fried fish using potato starch on Christmas Eve…it turned out great!  They did this just because they love me and know I can’t have wheat flour.  Happy.  There are a million recipes out in the Paleo world now using these starches, so go ahead and do a search for ideas!  They store well, and potato starch is inexpensive!  


 

It’s Time to Cook…

This recipe is so eeeeasy!! 

Just throw it all in the blender, and save it for a rainy (raining with responsibility) day.  This could be one of those weeks when you buy the conveniently pre-cut veggies from the supermarket…like I did when I made this stir fry.  $6 for a package of pre-cut asparagus?  That’s not a deal at all…but on occasion it’s okay because then we still eat veggies even though I’m busy, and I don’t have to worry about the prep and mess! 

What are you going to put in your stir fry?  I made one with shrimp, broccoli, and bell peppers; and the winning dish was chicken thighs with asparagus & kale.  Do your body a flavor and buy some organic meat, free from antibiotic & hormone use, and from a farm you can trust.  Want to buy directly from a farm but don’t know how?  Check out the place I get our meat from: www.sevensons.net  They deliver to pickup locations all over the midwest!  Wouldn’t you feel saintly if you knew the farms that raised your meat?  I know I would, and I do!

Okay, what are you waiting for?  Make this 5 minute sauce so it’s ready when you are!  Comment below or tag me in your creations #mylongevitykitchen

Make-Ahead Stir Fry Sauce
Serves 4
Make this 5 minute sauce so it's ready when you need dinner on the table in no time! Using whatever protein and veggies you have on hand, you can create a chinese takeout dinner with endless possibilities.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 inch piece fresh GINGER, peeled & minced (about 1 tablespoon), See Notes
  2. 2 GARLIC Cloves, chopped (help a blender out), See Notes
  3. 1/4 Cup of BROTH (water works in a pinch)
  4. 1/4 Cup Non-GMO TAMARI Lite Soy Sauce (read blog post above for more info)
  5. 1 Tablespoon COCONUT SUGAR (coconut palm sugar)
  6. 1 teaspoon APPLE CIDER VINEGAR or Rice Vinegar
  7. 1 teaspoon TOASTED SESAME OIL
  8. 1 Tablespoon POTATO STARCH, See Notes for subs
Instructions
  1. Add Everything to your blender and blend on high.
  2. Save in a jar in the fridge for up to a week
Ready to cook? Follow these steps
  1. If using meat/seafood, cut your meat into bite sized pieces, and heat 3 tablespoons of high heat cooking fat like avocado oil, ghee, refined coconut oil, palm oil (or even lard/tallow/bacon fat from healthy animals).
  2. Cook your meat/seafood until 75% done, and season with salt and pepper while it cooks.
  3. Remove the meat and set aside.
  4. Add your veggies to the pan along with a splash of water, and half of the stir-fry sauce. Season with salt and pepper and cover the pan.
  5. Steam-cook your covered veggies for about 3 minutes over medium heat.
  6. Remove the cover, stir, and add back your meat/seafood. Pour the rest of your stir fry sauce onto the meat/seafood, and stir to combine everything.
  7. Turn the heat to high and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir occasionally and watch the sauce thicken (thank you starch).
Notes
  1. Ground Ginger can be a good substitute. Use 1/4 teaspoon
  2. Garlic Powder can be a good substitute. Use 1 teaspoon.
  3. Potato Starch can be swapped for Tapioca Starch, Cassava Flour, & Arrowroot Starch in this recipe.
Adapted from Tastes Lovely
Adapted from Tastes Lovely
My Longevity Kitchen http://mylongevitykitchen.com/

My Favorite BOOKS

word swag books black 2

This is the first installment of a 5-part series called:  

My Favorite Things  

Coming up next is My Favorite Apps, Kitchen Stuff, Supplements & Herbs, and of course My Favorite FOODS…all things to help you thrive, so stay tuned!   


 

It seems like there are two groups of people:  those who love to read, and those who don’t think they love to read.  

My closest friends can tell you I’m pretty much always reading about 4 books at a time.  If you ask me reading something according to your mood or atmosphere makes way more sense than trying to finish one book at a time.  This way of thinking has gotten me through a lot of books!

Well, I have a message for everyone:  There are many ways to “read” these days…including audiobooks!  I am still hooked on traditional books, but I think audible.com is worth every penny – especially because they just increased the value by offering “The Great Courses”.  Click here if you want to know more ’bout all that.

I wish I was like Oprah and could just shower people with all the things I love.  This is my way of showing you I care (smile).  I’ve rounded up a list of 12 book titles, covering Nutrition, Cookbooks, Non-fiction/Self-Help.  Most of these items I cannot go without, and all of them will improve your life or replace something that’s holding you back!  Check it out…


 

Nutrition / Weight-loss / Lifestyle

perfect health diet book 2

 

Perfect Health Diet: How to Regain Health and Lose Weight By Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat

This is the most important book to me.  It’s super sciencey – which would usually scare me away.  It helped me make sense of all the diet advice out there.  If you want to be healthy, it really comes down to minimizing toxins in your food, and maximizing the nutrients you intake.  The scientists who wrote this book really know their stuff.  It surprised so many people in the Paleosphere to see white rice and white potatoes being recommended in a healthy person’s diet; but after you see the science, you see why this makes sense.  Anyone interested in Ancestral Health, the Paleo Diet, maximizing their nutrition, or tired of feeling like crap should DEFINITELY read this book. 

Microsoft PowerPoint - Food Plate.ppt
This is the Perfect Health Diet Recommendations

Note: I recommend this book in the digital format for many reasons.  I love a physical book in my hand just as much as anyone else, but digital readers are perfect for books with references, terms that are new to you, and content you’d like to refer back to.  Imagine being able to type in a search word like “magnesium” and find every place it is mentioned in the book.  Or how about highlighting a new word like “Apoptosis” so you can quickly see the definition?  You can also highlight and make notes to refer back to.  In this case, digital is the way to go.    

Price: THIS DIGITAL BOOK is on SPECIAL for $3.00 LIMITED TIME CLICK HERE TO BUY  (download the Kindle app and no need for a kindle)

Regular Price: $14-$20

Visit perfecthealthdiet.com for more info and a great resource

 

paleo cure
TODAY ONLY! $3

The Paleo Cure: Eat Right for Your Genes, Body Type, and Personal Health Needs.  Prevent and Reverse Disease, Lose Weight Effortlessly, and Look and Feel Better than Ever

Chris Kresser is the expert I am constantly quoting and referring back to when I need some straight-up facts about nutrition and wellness.  He is known as “the healthy skeptic”, and he wrote this book to help people figure out their own version of paleo.  We are different in many ways, so why should we have the same restrictions?  Anyone confused about what’s “healthy” these days, why people are suddenly allergic to everything, and what foods you personally should avoid, should buy this book.

Note: I recommend it in the digital format for many reasons too.  I love a physical book in my hand just as much as anyone else, but digital readers are perfect for books with references, terms that are new to you, and content you’d like to refer back to.  Imagine being able to type in a search word like “dairy” and find every place it’s mentioned in the book.  Or how about highlighting a new word like “autoimmunity” so you can quickly see the definition.  You can also highlight and make notes to refer back to.  For The Paleo Cure, digital is the way to go.  

Price: $10-$18 

Visit chriskresser.com for more info and a great resource
primal blueprint

The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy

I was high on life for about a month after reading the Primal Blueprint.  The message is so clear here, and actionable!  Mark Sisson of marksdailyapple.com is the original Paleo blogger, and an inspiration to everyone in the field.  This book is special because Mark takes a look at our modern lives and remind us of the simple ways we can start nurturing our inner primal being.  Take a look at his 10 Primal Laws

Primal Blueprint Laws
Primal Blueprint 10 Primal Laws

And if you’re into understanding what our body wants for fuel, then you have to check out his 8 Key Concepts here.

I love this program so much I am considering becoming a Primal Blueprint Certified Expert one day, by enrolling in his education program. 

I highly recommend The Primal Blueprint as an audio version for a quick, enjoyable “read” while you’re driving. 

Price: $9-$18 (click the book photo to order online)

Visit marksdailyapple.com for more info and a great resource


 

Cookbooks

paleo takeout

Paleo Takeout: Restaurant Favorites Without the Junk

This cookbook is bonkers.  It’s insane how many recipes are in it, and this guy Russ Crandall (AKA The Domestic Man) is one of my favorite chefs out there in the Paleosphere (maybe my absolute favorite.  Okay yes, he is.).  He’s an advocate of the Perfect Health Diet, my first book recommendation on this post, and has Paleo-ish recipes which include white rice! 

“In Paleo Takeout, Crandall re-creates everyone’s favorite takeout meals using wholesome ingredients and some seriously inventive techniques giving you the opportunity to revisit your favorite restaurant classics, with all of the gratification and none of the regret!”

paleo takeout chinese

Here’s a sneak peek at the Chinese food section

Price: $10-$22 (Click the photo to purchase)

THE ANCESTRAL TABLE is his original cookbook I also refer to again and again for traditional foods from around the world.  Click here to order online

His blog is downright ridonculous for any serious home cook or global foodie.  Check it out at thedomesticman.com 

every last crumb

Every Last Crumb: Paleo Bread and Beyond 

This is another Paleo cookbook that’ll straight up blow your mind.  Brittany Angell recreates EVERY grain-based food you miss when you go gluten-free or paleo.  She is a master at it, and I highly recommend her website brittanyangell.com. This book has everything from english muffins, to hot dog buns, to cakes, pies, and taco.  This book is high quality hardcover and makes a great gift for anyone who loves to bake.

Price: $10-$16 (click book photo to purchase online)

 

zenbelly

Zenbelly Cookbook: An Epicurean’s Guide to Paleo Cuisine 

I found this cookbook because everyone and their paleo Mom will tag #Zenbelly in their photos on Instagram.  She has several go-to recipes that make everyday life for gluten abstainers much easier.  Her plantain tortillas are one of them!  This cookbook is perfect for any serious home cook looking to cut out grains and dairy and still make drool worthy meals.  Here’s a great description:

“With over 100 real food recipes, The Zenbelly Cookbook covers every course and occasion; from simple weeknight meals that can be made for the family in under 30 minutes, to elegant multiple course dinners that will impress any guest. The Zenbelly Cookbook will also offer entertainment tips such as: what can be made ahead, shortcuts that don’t sacrifice quality, and menu suggestions. The goal of The Zenbelly Cookbook is to make incredible, professional quality food accessible to the home cook.” – Amazon

Price: $10-$21 (click the book photo to order online)

This Hardcover Book is Worthy Of Display

The Homegrown Paleo CookbookOver 100 Delicious, Gluten-Free, Farm-to-Table Recipes, and a Complete Guide to Growing Your Own Healthy Food

This book is as incredible as the husband and wife team who created it.  It combines two concepts that inspire me: a seasonal paleo cookbook and a beginner homesteading guide.  The photos are from their farm and home, and the photos are just gorgeous!  If you picture someone hugging the gift you gave them, this would be the book…for anyone interested in homesteading or seasonal paleo meals.  The meals are reasonably simple, and masterfully done, and the homesteading guide is just enough to get your hands really dirty.  

Price: $10-$27 (click the book photo to purchase online)

Follow their blog at sustainabledish.com for recipes, action from the farm, and ways to increase your eco-awareness.  


 

Non-fiction/ Self-help

10 percent happier

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story

I adore this book!  I breezed through it in a week!  I probably could’ve read it in 2 days.  Dan Harris, known for anchoring on ABC news, is hilarious, vulnerable, and increasingly cynical.  This book is great for anyone who wants to quiet their busy mind, or has mood swings, or is interested in meditation or Buddhist beliefs.  Here’s a quick synopsis:

“Harris had the ambition and drive to rise to ABC News television anchor. He’d felt the ‘journalistic heroin’ of reporting from war zones, anchored national broadcasts, and even recovered from cocaine addiction. But he also had a voice in his head, the same voice most of us wrestle with, constantly second-guessing him. If he could only quiet that voice, he’d be happier and less stressed. Harris was already covering the religion beat when he veered off on a personal journey to find answers beyond the self-help gurus. Along the way, he talked to Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, a host of Jewish Buddhists, and even the Dalai Lama before reluctantly trying meditation. Approaching it with all the skepticism of a reporter, Harris checked out the neurological research and learned that meditation was being used in the corporate and military arenas to heighten focus and clarity. After going on a meditation retreat, he ultimately found the balance he sought between ambition and inner peace. In this brave, completely engaging, and often hilarious book, Harris achieves his aim of demystifying meditation.” –Vanessa Bush

Price: $10-$15 (click the book photo to purchase online)

 

Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives 

There is so much to love about this book.  I literally think everyone in the world should read it!  Don’t you ever wonder why you can’t just stick to a new habit, or do something you really WANT to do?  Whats holding us back?  What are some actionable steps we can take to change that?  This is a subject that’s been tackled before, but someone finally took a different angle.  The author, Gretchen Rubin, is a writer who studies happiness, and she wrote this book after discovering something about habits.  We are all very different people with different tendencies, so how can one habit-forming strategy work for us all?  It won’t.  She pinpoints all of our different tendencies and helps you learn very actionable tricks to start making habits stick.  You will love it! 

Try it on audio book and listen while you’re driving!  And to all my podcast listeners out there, you have to check out her awesome podcast called “Happier”. 

Price: $13-$20 (click here to order online)

I highly recommend her website gretchenrubin.com for great advice on how to increase your happiness and productivity. 

 

Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History Of Four Meals 

This is a book I will never forget.  I even plan to read it again because it has so much to say.  I usually wouldn’t pick up a book this long, but after all the hype about it I decided to give it a try.  I fell in love with the Author, Michael Pollan, and his writing style.  If you want to know more about where our food comes from, and hear a thoughtful interpretation on food philosophy, this book is for you.  

“It’s a fascinating journey up and down the food chain, one that might change the way you read the label on a frozen dinner, dig into a steak or decide whether to buy organic eggs. You’ll certainly never look at a Chicken McNugget the same way again. Pollan’s narrative strategy is simple: he traces four meals back to their [origin]. He starts with a McDonald’s lunch, which he and his family gobble up in their car…Corn feeds the steer that turns into the burgers, becomes the oil that cooks the fries and the syrup that sweetens the shakes and the sodas, and makes up 13 of the 38 ingredients (yikes) in the Chicken McNuggets. Later, Pollan prepares a dinner with items from Whole Foods, investigating the flaws in the world of ‘big organic’; cooks a meal with ingredients from a small, utopian Virginia farm; and assembles a feast from things he’s foraged and hunted. -Pamela Kaufman, Executive Editor at Food & Wine magazine.” 

Price: $8-$15 (Click here to purchase online)

feast nearby

The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on $40 a week)

I love the way this memoir includes recipes throughout the book.  That made it even more special to me!  I’ve recommended this book several times to mothers and home cooks who want to appreciate the homesteading life, and get inspired to be more self sufficient. Here’s a nice intro for you:

“Within a single week in 2009, food journalist Robin Mather found herself on the threshold of a divorce and laid off from her job at the Chicago Tribune. Forced into a radical life change, she returned to her native rural Michigan. 
 
There she learned to live on a limited budget while remaining true to her culinary principles of eating well and as locally as possible. In The Feast Nearby, Mather chronicles her year-long project: preparing and consuming three home-cooked, totally seasonal, and local meals a day–all on forty dollars a week. “

Price: $13-$20 (click the book photo to purchase online)

 

wildlife garden

ThenWildlife Friendly Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Food in Harmony with Nature

What an inventive book.  This book is for gardeners, and people who’d like to know how they can co-exist with the natural wildlife surrounding us.  Just by looking at the cover you will see the playful drawing style she uses to show the different creatures.  This was the perfect book for me because I hate looking at real-life insects.  But these cute cartoon drawings were the perfect way for me to see which insects are beneficial and which are pests. This one-of-a-kind book shows you how to create a peaceful co-existence between your vegetable garden and the wildlife who consider it part of their habitat. By understanding and working with the surrounding environment – instead of continually fighting it – you’ll reap a larger harvest with much less stress and effort. “

Price: $13 (Click the book photo to purchase online)


Comment below and tell me which books you’ve read!

Coconut Green Tea Dairy-Free, Paleo, Sugar-Free

"InstaRecipe" Alert! (click here for info)

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I’d hardly call this a recipe because it is so simple!  But indeed it is a recipe for greatness, and it’s time to share it with you!  It tastes like a warm and creamy vanilla milkshake, for real!  It’s so frothy and delicious.

I am a Bulletproof Coffee fan, for life.  But I am also trying to figure out what my brain needs to function optimally and stay focused throughout the day.

After reading the famous book “Healing ADD” by Daniel Amen, I understand that coffee may not be the best choice for my morning routine.  Here and there yes, but not daily. Sooooo, I had to start toying with my green tea and make it “Bulletproof” too!..

I use coconut oil for the satisfying fats and MCT’s (medium chain fats that are good for the brain and metabolism), protein powder because most distracted brains thrive on higher protein and lower carbs (this is especially important earlier in the day to boost your focus and concentration skills), and often add in Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil for added brain boosting power.   This combo of healthy fats and protein provides you with a power breakfast that’ll hold you over for hours into your day!  And I still get to keep my morning routine.  I don’t miss the coffee one bit!

Caffeine makes you feel more focused but unfortunately it also decreases blood flow to the brain–and over time can make ADD symptoms worse.  Green tea is a better choice than coffee because it contains less caffeine, and more importantly, green tea contains Theanine and EGCG which both benefit the brain in many ways.

Coconut Green Tea made with coconut oil, cinnamon, and grass-fed vanilla whey protein. By Marisa Moon of My Longevity Kitchen

Scroll down for the recipe…

Looking for some high quality vanilla protein powders? Here are some brands that I recommend:

Primal Fuel Vanilla Coconut Whey Protein Isolate with Prebiotic Fiber

Reserveage Grass-fed Vanilla Minimally Processed Whey Protein 
 

Tera’s Whey Grass-fed Organic Bourbon Vanilla Protein 

Garden Of Life Raw Vegan Organic Protein, Vanilla, with Sprouted Foods & Pea Protein

 

Disclaimer: Marisa Moon of My Longevity Kitchen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to awesome products they recommend from amazon.com


Coconut Green Tea
Serves 1
Blend together hot organic green tea with nourishing coconut oil, and vanilla protein powder for a nutritious and brain-boosting breakfast alternative.
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Total Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 serving of prepared Hot GREEN TEA (organic)
  2. 1-2 Tbsp Virgin COCONUT OIL
  3. VANILLA Grass-Fed Whey PROTEIN POWDER (see notes for brands and measurements)
  4. A generous dash of CINNAMON
Optional
  1. Up to 1 Tbsp MCT oil or Brain Octane Oil
Instructions
  1. Using a blender, BLEND together the HOT GREEN TEA and the COCONUT OIL first.
  2. Touch the mixture with your finger to test the temperature. If its too hot to touch then it needs to cool a little longer before you add the whey protein powder (to avoid damaging the nutrients).
  3. Once it's at a temperature you can touch comfortably, add the protein powder and cinnamon. Blend again. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Whey Protein Powders: All protein powders have different measurements and different levels of sweetness. I use Reserveage Vanilla or Primal Fuel Whey Protein and put 2 Tablespoons in my coconut green tea recipe. Terra's Grass-Fed Vanilla Bourbon Whey is also great, but you will have to double the quantity (4 Tablespoons). Do you have another brand? If so, start with 2 Tablespoons, and taste to decide if you need more. See my full list of recommended protein powders above. Happy sipping!
My Longevity Kitchen http://mylongevitykitchen.com/

Ciambotta: Italian Vegetable Stew

2

My Inspiration…

Sure enough, whenever the leaves are thinking about falling, I’m thinking about Ciambotta—pronounced Chom-BOAT-ah.  This Italian vegetable stew is a southern Italian tradition.  It gives you the opportunity to celebrate the bounty of your garden (or farm stand, CSA, and local produce section), kiss the Summer goodbye, and say hello to a 50 degree day.  I’m okay with that. 

2015-09-29 20.21.22

I love Ciambotta for so many reasons!  Most importantly, I grew up eating it—anything in a red sauce, with parmigiano reggiano and crushed red pepper was my favorite.  But ciambotta is awesome because it’s cheap, versatile, and reminiscent of a bowl of pasta.  (I should mention it freezes fantastically too.  BONUS!)


Longevity Tips…

Are you buying organic produce yet?  I understand it’s tough to get used to paying more, so check out this list of vegetables that are highest in pesticides (we are talking over 50 different pesticides detected on some of these veggies; not to mention that kale and hot peppers often contain chemicals that are so dangerous they should be illegal).  If you buy these organic, you’ll be cutting out a majority of the pesticides/herbicides your family is exposed to. 

This list is only for vegetables.  Read here for the full list including fruits (pleeeeease buy your apples organic)

Watch this 2 minute video to see what chemicals are in your body before switching to organic.  You’ll be shocked!


 

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: 

If you aren’t already buying organic tomatoes, you should start right now. Standard tomatoes are sprayed with some of the highest levels of herbicides/pesticides being used. These chemicals are “classified as ‘bad actors’ by the Pesticide Action Network (PAN). A “bad actor” is a chemical that is toxic, promotes cancer in lab tests and animal studies, interferes with reproduction, or contaminates the environment.”

Thanks to Jo Robinson’s book “Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimal Health”, I am able to provide you with this important information.

And skip the traditional cans because they are lined with all sorts of chemicals that tomatoes leach from (even if they are BPA free). Go for glass jars or cartons of organic tomato products…stock up when they are on sale around $3 and save big!  I heart organic tomatoes.


It’s Time To Cook…

Okay so you’re ready to make your Ciambotta, and you notice the ingredients in my recipe aren’t in precise amounts.  Welcome to the world of Italian cooking!  And honestly people, this is my style.  Recipes don’t have to be so rigid to be great!

I want you to use whatever you like, and whatever you have access to.  The base of a great ciambotta is usually tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes; but there are SO MANY GREAT WAYS to make it!  My family often puts green beans or peas in this stew.  Don’t like eggplant?  I say try it in this dish, and you might be surprised…but you can always leave it out.  Even the amount of liquid is not precise.  All you need to worry about is that there is just enough liquid to cover those veggies.

Let me know how this works for you!  I always make it on the stove top, but I know you can do it in the slow cooker.  Give it a shot, and tag me #MyLongevityKitchen on Instagram and Facebook @MyLongevityKitchen, or comment right here!  

Ciambotta: Italian Vegetable Stew
Serves 3
Pronounced Chom-BOAT-ah, this Italian vegetable stew is a southern Italian tradition. It is a celebration of the garden's bounty slowly cooked in a rich tomato sauce.
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. ½ ONION, chopped
  2. Optional: 1 organic CELERY, 1 CARROT, finely chopped
  3. Optional: 1 teaspoon CRUSHED PEPPER FLAKES
  4. 3 cloves of GARLIC, peeled and smashed
  5. Approx. 1 lb EGGPLANT and/or organic ZUCCHINI, diced
  6. Approx. 1 lb organic Potatoes, peeled and diced
  7. Optional: ½ lb GREEN BEANS and/or organic SWEET PEPPERS chopped
  8. ¼ Cup organic Extra Virgin OLIVE OIL
  9. 24 oz Jarred organic TOMATOES (I prefer jarred Whole Peeled Tomatoes, but any variety canned—and quartered fresh tomatoes—works too)
  10. 18 oz BONE BROTH, STOCK, or WATER (just enough to cover the veggies)
  11. 1 BAY LEAF
  12. 1 Tbsp minced FRESH HERBS (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme)
  13. 1 tsp dried OREGANO (skip if using fresh oregano)
  14. SALT & PEPPER
  15. Optional: ¼ Cup GRATED Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (More nutritious compared to “parmesan”)
Stovetop Method
  1. Using a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, and celery (if using), and a heavy pinch of salt. Stir and saute for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and crushed chili pepper flakes, stir and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add all of your vegetables, tomatoes, and ¼ cup olive oil. Stir and add enough broth or water to just cover the vegetables.
  5. Turn the heat to high, stir in the herbs, bay leaf, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper.
  6. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and cover.
  7. Cook on low heat for 1 hour, stirring around every 15 minutes to prevent burning on the bottom.
  8. After 1 hour, and all the veggies are super soft, you may leave off the cover to reduce the amount of liquid remaining. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until you reach the desired thickness.
  9. Stir in the grated cheese (if using), and taste for salt. If it tastes like something is missing, add more salt.
Slow Cooker Method
  1. Add all of the ingredients—except the grated cheese¬—to the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 8 hours, until the veggies are super soft.
  3. If it’s too soupy, continue cooking uncovered on high or transfer to the stove uncovered and the liquid will evaporate as it simmers.
  4. Stir in the grated cheese and taste for salt. Something missing? Add salt.
  5. Serve with fresh herbs, grated cheese, and crushed pepper if desired.
Notes
  1. Ingredients marked organic are specifically high in pesticides when grown conventionally
  2. Variations: Add organic leafy greens, and ANY cooked meat to change it up.
  3. This is hearty enough to serve as a main course and can be stretched by serving over rice or Non-GMO polenta
My Longevity Kitchen http://mylongevitykitchen.com/

3 Ingredient Spice-Crusted Lamb

Isn’t it awesome when you find a tasty recipe that only requires a few ingredients?  

Check your spice cabinet for ground cumin and smoked paprika…

Not in there?  Go and get some!  

These two spices are at the very top of my list.  Cumin gives you that warm taco meat flavor, and smoked paprika gives you a smokey red pepper kick!  

That’s basically all you need for this recipe.  And the star ingredient?  

My favorite meat: Lamb.  

Besides the superior flavor, do you know what’s so great about lamb?  Lamb is not as mass produced as beef, chicken, and pork, so you can be sure the lamb you are buying is almost always living a good life…which means it’s healthier for us to eat.  When you see New Zealand on the lamb label, that tells you the lamb was eating grass just like nature intended.  This means that the meat is higher in omega 3’s and lower in the inflammatory omega 6’s (compared to animals fed grain).

New Zealand, 2006
Sheep Farming in New Zealand (Wikipedia)

What do we do with this super easy, 3 ingredient spice rub????

You can use this spice rub on lamb chops, kabobs, and mix it into lamb burgers.  But the easiest preparation (which I choose to make time and time again) is to get some diced, trimmed, leg of lamb, marinate for 30+ minutes in this spice rub, and give it a quick sear in a hot pan.  

Longevity Tip: Choose your oil, or what I like to call “cooking fat” wisely.  Oils that have lower smoke points (temperatures at which they break down) will release dangerous stressors in the body…so it’s important to choose specific cooking fats for high heat cooking!  I give you many options in the recipe notes, but just grab a bottle of avocado oil if you want something pour-able and easy to use.  Want to understand more about fats and their smoke points?  Read this

If you want to make lamb kebabs, ask the butcher for a boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cubed into 1.5 inch pieces.  They’ll do it for you, so just ask!  The trimming is important because the fat won’t have time to cook when you are using a high heat method like the grill.  Coat the meat in the spice rub about 30 minutes before hitting the grill, and let it marinate at room temperature.  When skewering the meat, it is best to do the meat on its own, with space between each piece of meat.  I know it looks pretty mixed with vegetables (like Jamie Oliver’s version below), but make it worth your money and cook it properly.  Space between the meat allows each piece to cook more evenly, and there aren’t any veggies getting in the way either.  On a hot grill, you cook the meat for just a few minutes max, per side.  If you have big pieces of meat, you’ll have to find a cooler spot on the grill so the spices don’t burn before it’s cooked.  Pull the lamb off when it’s medium rare!  It will continue to cook when it cools, and you want it to be tender. 

jamie oliver kebabs

The inspiration for my spiced lamb came from Jamie Olivers Marinated Lamb Kebabs Recipe.  I made the kebabs for a party, and people were goin’ crazy for them!  I mean, we went through 10 lbs of New Zealand Lamb in no time!  3 people asked me for the lamb recipe, so I knew I had to post it on my blog one day.  I originally altered Jamie Oliver’s recipe by simplifying the ingredient list…using only cumin, smoked paprika, and salt.  It was a huge hit, and I never turned back.  

seven sons

I made it the past few times with a locally sourced lamb stew/kebab meat from Seven Sons Farms.  Seven Sons Farms distributes and deliveries responsibly raised meat from farms all over the midwest!  Check it out if you live in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, or Kentucky.  

 

Buying from a local farm can mean a little more fat trimming at home.  You can see here the before and after photo of lamb I trimmed. 

 

You want this lamb to be tender, and succulent, and worth every penny.  That’s why we trim.  The fatty white tissue will be too chewy in this quick-cooking method.  I saved all the fat and scraps for a tomato sauce (just sear the fat, add garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and cook partially covered for an hour, stirring occasionally).  These small cubes of lean meat I ended up with are perfect for a quick sear in the pan.    

Are you ready to make the quick and easy version of my 3 Ingredient Spice-Crusted Lamb?

This lamb, or any meat for that matter, goes perfectly with chimichurri sauce.  The vinegar and bold flavors are perfect for this spicy smoky masterpiece.  I LOVE it with a cilantro based chimichurri because the cilantro is strong enough to stand up to the lamb.  Try and make your own chimichurri with my recipe template here.  You can make this fresh Argentinian sauce in so many different ways, and I show you how in this build-your-own Chimichurri recipe!  

Tag me in your lamb photos on facebook or instagram @mylongevitykitchen #mylongevitykitchen

3 Ingredient Spice-Crusted Lamb
Serves 2
An unexpected combination of cumin and smoked paprika makes this 3 ingredient lamb so easy and satisfying. People will be asking for your recipe! I show you how to make it quickly in a hot pan so you can have a lamb dinner on the table in 5 minutes!
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
2 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
2 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 Tbsp SMOKED PAPRIKA
  2. ½ tsp GROUND CUMIN
  3. ½ tsp Finely GROUND SEA SALT
  4. ½ tsp ground BLACK PEPPER
  5. 2 tsp Avocado Oil (see substitutions in notes)
  6. 1 lb leg of LAMB, 1 inch cubes trimmed of most visible fat (see notes for variations)
Instructions
  1. Check to be sure your lamb is cut into about 1 inch pieces, and trimmed of most the white fat and tissue.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together EXCEPT the lamb, and make a spice paste to coat the lamb.
  3. Add the lamb and rub the marinade all over. Let it sit, partially covered for 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature, or longer in the fridge (bring back to room temp before cooking).
  4. Heat a heavy pan over high heat, or heavy duty foil on a hot grill. Add a little avocado oil or other high heat cooking fat to the pan a minute before you are ready to drop in the lamb.
  5. Add the marinated lamb to the hot pan letting it sear on one side for 1 minute.
  6. Flip the lamb pieces using tongs or a spatula and leave for 1 more minute to sear another side of the meat.
  7. Pull out a smaller piece and check for doneness. I usually transfer all of the meat to a plate after only 2 minutes of cooking! It will continue to cook as it rests.
  8. Sprinkle with a little salt when done cooking, serve with potatoes or rice, and chimichurri sauce if desired (see previous post or links above in this article)
Notes
  1. Lamb Cuts: You can use this spice rub on lamb chops, kebabs, and mix it into lamb burgers. See this blog post article for kebab instructions.
  2. Cooking Fats for High Heat: Ghee, macadamia nut oil, palm oil, palm shortening, beef tallow
My Longevity Kitchen http://mylongevitykitchen.com/