I was blown away by instagrammer MJ Sanders @RivetandRoot when I saw her dedication to eating local. I asked MJ to be a guest blogger on my site so we can explore Why and How to eat local…more often.
To anyone in Northwest Indiana, join me February 23 for the FED Food Expo & Discussion. We’ll gather together to discuss local food & sustainability strategies, and I’ll have a table in the expo area to share my services for primal health coaching. Join me! – Marisa Moon
I started my local food journey about five years ago, shortly after marrying my husband, Caleb, in 2012. The more I pursued local food, the more reasons I discovered that compelled me to find out more.
Here are just a few of those reasons:
#1) Sustainability: eating local is better for my world.
From fossil fuel to food miles to plastic use, if you care about being “green” at all, eating local is the way to go! The footprint of local food is vastly smaller on every front, utilizing more efficient energy, less synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and better labor practices. And even if “being green” isn’t one of your top values, here are a few more reasons that started to convince me:
#2) Health: eating local is better for my body.
I discovered that eating local food is an extremely wholesome option for me and my family. Not only is the food usually harvested when it’s ripe and sold fresh, (which means it retains a lot more nutrients!) it’s often grown in healthier soil, and without the use of chemicals that are starting to emerge as extremely toxic to our bodies over time. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
No time to read the full post? Listen here to the audio version:
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.
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.
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 →
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 →
I feel so lucky being able to visit Austin for THE Paleo conference, working alongside passionate foodies, and visionary leaders whom I admire.
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
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 →
It feels like Summer already in Chicago! (I keep saying Chicago even though I’m in Indiana now)
I was out doing yard work this week, and I was hot! I transplanted some peppers and tomato plants that I started indoors, and I finally planted a bunch of marigolds that Eric gave me for Mother’s Day (doggy momma). Feels good to get that done because I just left for Austin to work the Paleo f(x) conference, and I’m just praying my garden will be okay while I’m gone.
Summer is the time for Party after Party after BBQ after BBQ, which means Salad after Salad after Salad, and to me– this is a good thing! We love salad in my family!!!! Plus, when you go gluten-free or paleo, you will hardly find food at parties that you can eat, besides salad. Know what I mean?
So I was watching the TV show the Kitchen–who doesn’t love this show, I mean come on, they are all so fun to watch!–and the handsome Ironchef himself, Geoffrey Zacharian starts SMASHING A CUCUMBER! This man, I tell you. So simple, and so perfect. I knew I had to smash a cucumber for a recipe, and I did!
After smashing the cucumber like GZ did, I gently reassembled it on a platter. I later poured a lemon and parsley dressing over the top, and layered on plenty of raw sheep milk feta Continue reading →
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!
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, grains, 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).
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.
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 →
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.
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 →
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.
These 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.
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.
Loading up the Pan to Roast
Hannah Potato Bursting When Finished
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.
Simply Salt, Wrap, Roast 45-60m
Ahhhhh, Soft & Juicy
Avocado Oil (for high heat), Salt, Dry Oregano
Roasted 1 Hour, 45m is Best
Whole Eggplant, Poke with Holes
Bake 1 hr ’til soft, Rest 10m
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!
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.
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!
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!
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: 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.
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)
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.
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…
And if you’re into understanding what our body wants for fuel, then you have to check out his 8 Key Concepts here.
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!”
His blog is downright ridonculous for any serious home cook or global foodie. Check it out at thedomesticman.com
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 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)
The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook: Over 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.
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)
New Book Cover
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”.
I highly recommend her website gretchenrubin.com for great advice on how to increase your happiness and productivity.
He Wrote a Version for Teens!
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.”
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)
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!
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!
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
Blend together hot organic green tea with nourishing coconut oil, and vanilla protein powder for a nutritious and brain-boosting breakfast alternative.
VANILLA Grass-Fed Whey PROTEIN POWDER (see notes for brands and measurements)
A generous dash of CINNAMON
Up to 1 Tbsp MCT oil or Brain Octane Oil
Using a blender, BLEND together the HOT GREEN TEA and the COCONUT OIL first.
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).
Once it's at a temperature you can touch comfortably, add the protein powder and cinnamon. Blend again. Enjoy!
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!
By Marisa Moon
My Longevity Kitchen https://mylongevitykitchen.com/
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.
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!)
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.
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.”
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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!
This recipe will save any dish that goes wrong in your kitchen.
It’s a game changer.
I’m talkin’ about a flavor-packed meal in the blink of an eye. With this sauce you can transform just about anything. Trust me, people will be asking for seconds.
I’ve been making chimichurri for many years now. My husband fell in love with chimichurri long before he met me because he spent some time in Brazil. Together, years later, we dined at a famous Argentinian steak house in Chicago, called Tango Sur (white tablecloth, Argentinian staff, no reservations, and BYOB!). Tango Sur serves up steaks the size of the dinner plate, and along-side is a bowl of this glorious tangy garlicky sauce: Chimichurri.
Thank you Argentina, for bringing this to the American table.
So what is Chimichurri?
Basically, Chimichurri is like a vinegary pesto, without the cheese or nuts. It is herbs, fresh and dried, with garlic, vinegar, plenty of oil, water, sometimes lime, and peppers, onions, and spices.
What do I serve it with?
Almost ANYTHING. This stuff is like money in the bank. It will last in your fridge for weeks, and kick all your dishes up about ten notches. Try it with any seafood, any meat, and as a dip or salad dressing. Saute shrimp and greens in this sauce, or just pour it over the finished product. One of my favorite things to do with chimichurri is a quick tomato salad – especially when I am serving something with chimichurri already – putting it in the salad dressing just ties the whole meal together. And it’s so fast and easy!
I made this recipe BUILD-YOUR-OWN because you can truly customize it to your liking. I love making chimichurri with Cilantro…but honestly? That’s not really chimichurri. The authentic version would not use cilantro. BUT WE LOVE IT! It’s fun to combine cilantro and parsley in different quantities. And it’s great to be able to swap out ingredients according to what you already have on hand!
The best part is there are two ways to actually make this. You can do it by hand, chopping everything real fine, just like they would in an Argentinian kitchen; or you can use a food processor like we do in the modern world because we like everything to be FAST AND EASY! Am I wrong?
Garnished Food Processor Version
Spiced Lamb with Chimichurri
Authentic Version by Hand
Food Processor Version
Cilantro Base, in Food Processor
Authentic Version by Hand
I would like to take a moment to send a shout out to the Italian man who started The Slow Movement, in 1986. From the farming of the food, to the preparation in our homes, to the time we finish eating; food should be cherished. Time should nearly stand still.
Food is a wonderful thing, especially when it’s made with your own two hands.
Go on and rock this recipe out whichever way you’d like. Don’t be afraid to try new things, ask questions, and taste as you go! And look at my notes at the bottom of the recipe for some great ideas for serving and storing this sauce!
Tag @mylongevitykitchen on Instagram or Facebook, or #mylongevitykitchen.
This vinegary herb based sauce is so versatile already. But this recipe makes it more versatile than ever! Build-your-own Argentinian-style chimichurri based on what you have on hand! Chop it up the old fashioned way, or blend it in the food processor to save time. You pick the ingredients, and you pick the method!
FRESH OR DRIED OREGANO, MARJORAM, or THYME. ¼ Cup Fresh OR 1 Tbsp Dried (oregano is traditionally used)
1 tsp each SALT & PEPPER
1/3 Cup ANY Combination of WINE VINEGAR and/or Lime Juice (Red Wine Vinegar is traditionally used)
2-4 Tbsp WATER
3-4 Cups loosely packed FRESH PARSLEY OR CILANTRO or ANY COMBINATION of these herbs (Parsley is traditional, Cilantro is a flavor explosion)
¾ Cup EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1 FRESH HOT PEPPER OR ½ BELL PEPPER, minced
½ SHALLOT OR ¼ ONION, minced
2 teaspoons CRUSHED RED PEPPER
1 teaspoon PAPRIKA
Directions to Make By Hand (traditional method, rustic sauce, beautiful finish)
Mince all of the garlic, fresh herbs, and any onions or peppers.
To take the edge off the garlic (and onion if using), mix all base ingredients except for the parsley/cilantro and olive oil, PLUS now you will add your “optional add-ins”. Let this mixture soak for 30 minutes room temp or longer in the fridge (overnight is fine). You may also add the herbs now, which is more traditional, but the bright green herbs will turn a dull color. To save time you can skip this step and add everything at once.
Add the herbs and 3/4 cup of olive oil.
Taste and decide if the vinegar is too strong for your taste. You can add up to 2 more tablespoons of water (when you use mostly parsley, you will want to add more water; cilantro can stand up to the vinegar much better). Taste for salt, and Enjoy!
Keep this in a jar in the fridge for weeks. See notes for more ideas.
Directions to Make in Food Processor (less chopping by hand, smoother sauce)
If using food processor, still roughly chop the garlic, onion and fresh pepper to assist in proper mixing.
To take the edge off the garlic, mix all of the base ingredients EXCEPT the fresh herbs and olive oil, PLUS the “optional add-ons”. Let this mixture rest for 30 minutes at room temp, or longer in the fridge (overnight is fine). To save time you can skip the step of resting 30 minutes.
Add the fresh herbs to the food processor and pulse just a few times.
Now add everything else to the food processor and turn it on for literally a second, just to mix. For a creamier sauce you can add everything EXCEPT the olive oil, and pour it into the machine while it is running. This will thicken the sauce a bit, and really blend it smooth.
Taste if you like the strong vinegar flavor, or add up to two tablespoons of water (using parsley calls for more water, but cilantro can stand up to the vinegar better). Taste for salt, and enjoy!
Keep this in a jar in the fridge for weeks. See notes for more ideas.
My Favorite version is mostly cilantro, some parlsey, and some fresh oregano. I mix red wine vinegar and lime juice, and blend in the food processor. The flavor is insane!
You can even freeze chimichurri in ice cube trays. Once they are frozen, transfer to a freezer bag, and then use them to add flavor to dinner whenever you want!
Try it as a Salad dressing
Boil/Steam Potatoes and toss with Chimichurri for a killer potato salad
Amazing with any type of fish or meat
By Marisa Moon
My Longevity Kitchen https://mylongevitykitchen.com/
You deserve to have a guide by your side as you navigate the steps it takes to become a healthier you.
Together we’ll find the ideal combination of challenges, accountability, and structure that you need to make it work and reach your goals.
Learn more about my coaching style—I’m relatable and realistic, and I combine health coaching with life coaching—and book your free consultation here at marisamoon.com
Introducing InstaRecipes by My Longevity Kitchen: I call these InstaRecipes because the complete recipe is posted onto my instagram feed, and more importantly, they are short and to the point! You can count on InstaRecipe posts to be a brief description moving right into the recipe. I know you are in a hurry! So let's get to it!