Lemon Curd Parfait

With the heat of the summer and the abundance of fresh berries on hand, this is the perfect dessert to satisfy

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your sweet tooth.  Although it really isn’t all that sweet, it is very gratifying.  It is tangy and creamy and has a pudding like consistency.  Imagine taking a spoonful and being delighted with  the creaminess of the pudding enveloped in a sea of fresh berries that seem to explode on your taste buds. I chose blueberries and raspberries but you could use any other berry of choice.

This dessert uses an alternative sweetener called monk fruit which ironically is 300-400 times sweeter that sugar with no calories and zero effect on blood sugar.  It contains antioxidants known as mogrosides which are metabolized differently than traditional sugars.  It has been in use for centuries and now can be found in health food stores in the United States.  It helps fight free radicals in the body and helps lower the risk of obesity and diabetes among other benefits.

Recipe:  (Yield 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup monk fruit sweetener
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 4 large eggs or medium
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups berries of choice
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced mint

Procedure:

In a medium pot, whisk the sweetener, lemon and egg.  Add coconut oil and place on medium heat.  Once the oil is melted, constantly whisk until mixture thickens.  Pour the mixture through a strainer with small holes.  Let the curd cool completely.

When cool, in a parfait glass, layer the berries and pudding.  Top with grated lemon zest and mint.

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/ culinary instructor/writer/ blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.  www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63  e: healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

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Quinoa Spaghetti with Olives and Basil

Quinoa Spaghetti with Olives and BasilHave you ever come home from work and had a craving for a traditional Italian old time favorite like spaghetti with a tangy marinara sauce but then realized that you could not consume gluten?  Well, don’t despair!  There are a number of great and tasty gluten free pasta products on the market.  I chose a spaghetti made with quinoa flour.  Luckily for me, when this craving occurs, I usually have all the necessary ingredients on hand to whip up a gourmet meal in minutes.

This recipe is appropriate for those of you who are following the Candida Elimination Diet, the low FODMAPS Diet, the Gluten-free Diet as well as the Vegan and Vegetarian Diets.  The only change is to eliminate the garlic and onion in the tomato marinara sauce for those of you following the low FODMAPS Diet.

Here is the recipe:

Quinoa Spaghetti with Olives and Basil  (Serves 2)

Ingredients: 

(For the sauce)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 small onion diced small
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 3-4 basil leaves thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup castelvetrano olives sliced
  • 1/2 (24 ounce) jar of strained tomatoes (I use the brand Bionaturae)
  • Sea salt to taste

(For the pasta)

  • 8 cups filtered water
  • 4-5 ounces quinoa spaghetti
  • Pinch of salt

Procedure:

(For the sauce)  In a medium pot on simmer, add the oil and garlic and cover. When golden, add the onion and mix well.  When translucent, add the tomatoes and remainder of the ingredients.  Mix well and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.

 

(For the pasta)  In a large pot, add the water and salt.  Cover and bring to a boil on high heat.  When the water is boiling, add the spaghetti, turn down the heat to medium and mix constantly so strands do not stick together.  After about 5 minutes, test a strand of spaghetti.  If it is hard, continue cooking until it is soft with a slight chew.  Once this occurs, take it off the heat, strain and put the pasta in a large bowl.  Add the tomato sauce and mix well.

Note:  For the Low FODMAPS Diet, leave out the garlic and onion.

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger andspeaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.  www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63  e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

Vegetable Soup for Breakfast?

20170703_143424Cereal, bread, muffins, pastries, pancakes and omelettes are fine choices if you are well and don’t need to boost your nutrition.  However, if you are like most people, you will do anything to rake in more nutrients.  If you have an autoimmune disease, it is important to consume a nutrient dense breakfast free of grain.

Many Asian countries begin their breaking of the nightly fast with a steamy bowl of soup rich in vitamins and minerals.

In this day and age, so many people are suffering from a myriad of mysterious chronic health problems that include auto-immune illnesses such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Lupus, Hashimotos’s as well as Candidiasis, Diabetes, Cancer and the Neurological illnesses that include MS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s to name a few.

Many of the specialized healing food diets that are being prescribed by Integrative Health Practitioners, Functional Medicine and Naturopathic Doctors exclude the consumption of sugar and starches due to its breaking down into simple sugar in the body.  This leaves us with the question, “What is one to consume for breakfast?”  Good question.  Why not a healthy vegetable soup that is chock full of vegetables super rich in nutrients? If that is not filling enough, add some kelp noodles which are grain free and some chicken chunks for protein.

The main reason that most people cannot seem to adjust to this idea is simply because certain foods are associated with breakfast and soup is not one of them.  You need to break out of this way of thinking.  There are many people in various countries around the world that do not eat the standard American breakfast and many of them are quite healthy.

I am including a simple recipe for a healing soup that includes what I call the magic healing trio of garlic, ginger and turmeric as well as burdock root, shiitakes, bok choy, watercress and kelp noodles which are not made of starch and are a good source of iodine.  This soup is a rich potpourri of nutrients.  It is easy to assemble.  If you cannot commit to having it every day, at least try consuming it 2-3 times per week.

Let’s get serious about healing our illnesses and enjoy a healthy body once again!

Healing Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced turmeric
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 1 medium burdock root peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 cups shiitakes sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups bok choy chopped (whites and greens)
  • 1 cup watercress
  • 10 cups filtered water
  • 8 ounce bag kelp noodles (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1-3 tablespoons Coconut Aminos
  • 1/2 pound chicken cubed (optional)
  • Sea salt to taste

Procedure:

In a large pot, add the oil, garlic, ginger and turmeric and let it cook on medium heat until slightly golden in color.  Add the onions, followed by the vegetables and filtered water and the optional kelp noodles and chicken, if using.  If you desire a thicker soup, add less water and if you want a thinner one, add more.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Note:  For the Candida Diet, leave out the shiitake mushrooms.  For the GAPS Diet, leave out the burdock.  For the Low FODMAPS Diet, leave out the garlic, onion and shiitake mushrooms.

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.  www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63  e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

The Magic of Garlic, Ginger and Turmeric – A Culinary Trio

Recently, I posted an article on the medicinal healing benefits derived from the Magi’s three gifts brought to the Christ child.  Although the three kings brought gold, frankincense and myrrh, there appears to be a parallel to  garlic, ginger and turmeric.  The biblical gold, it has been determined, could actually refer to the gold colored fresh turmeric that is known for its compound curcumin which has amazing healing abilities in the body.  In addition, since I am doing a webinar on Culinary Nutrigenomics, it is recommended that curcumin be added to a meal along with some form of fat or phospholipid so it gets emulsified and absorbed into the body.

I am not familiar from a culinary perspective with the benefits of frankencense and myrrh, however, I find that by incorporating fresh garlic, ginger and turmeric into my clients’ dishes, it helps to keep the immune system strong and by having a strong immune system, the body is better able to fight off illness.

I frequently combine these three ingredients so they have a positive synergistic healing effect in the body.  Garlic and ginger also are known for their amazing healing abilities. They are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial.  A little bit goes along way!  You do not need to gorge yourself in order to reap the benefits.  The digested particles will find their way to the billions of cells and start to do their magic.

I believe there is a reason that these culinary herbs have been around for millennia and have been incorporated all over the world in numerous tasty dishes.  With the technological advancements coupled with the influx of people from all over the globe, we are starting to see these 3 culinary agents appear at quality food stores, health food stores and farmer’s markets.

Start using them yourself and enjoy the rich, robust flavor that they add to your favorite dishes and get a free boost of health as well!

Note:  For the Low FODMAPS Diet, the garlic needs to be eliminated in recipes.

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.  www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63 e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

Recycle Your Packaged Fresh Herbs

20170107_122152As a healing through food specialist, chef and teacher, I cannot tell you how many times I buy packaged fresh herbs for clients and as soon as they become dry, they get discarded.  I believe this happens because the great majority of people do not know what to do with the dried herbs or they are just doing a weekly refrigerator purge.

I, like my clients, had to do a refrigerator purge and I came across a package of fresh rosemary, sage and thyme combo that dried out.  My first instinct was to toss it but then I decided to take them out of the container and divide them into small bundles of the same herb.  I decided to mince each bundle until it was a heap of dried fragrant herbs.  I noticed that my glass herb jars were getting low.  I filled my jars with the newly cut dried herb and was astounded that my dried herbs (due to being just cut) were brighter and darker in color than the original dried ones  I bought in the store for nearly $4.  So, there you have it.  It takes just minutes to do and you wind up saving money in the long run.

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.  www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63  e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

Food Trends for 2017

Since I am in the healthy end of the food business, my job is to keep abreast of the healthy food trends and here are my predictions for 2017.

More and more people are discovering the benefits of avocado with its rich source of monounsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, potassium and copper.  It is being consumed by spreading it on toast, not just any old toast, but a sprouted grain style bread such as Ezekial or Manna.  A little olive oil is drizzled over the top with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.  It makes a nice savory breakfast option.

Root vegetables are making a nice comeback and can be found as accompaniments to a protein meal in place of pasta or rice.  Since flour based products break down into sugar, many individuals are steering clear or them.  The root vegetables of choice are rutabagas, turnips, parnsips, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash including winter squash and Jerusalem artichokes.  They are good sources of vitamins A + C, potassium and magnesium as well as dietary fiber.

Another breakfast food that is replacing the health food granola trend, is porridge prepared with ancient gluten free grains such as amaranth and teff.  Amaranth is a light colored tiny grain that was cultivated by the Aztecs and is a good source of protein and B vitamins.  It is rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium.  Teff, on the other hand, is also a tiny grain, brown in color, that originated in Ethiopia.  Like amaranth, it is a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals.  The two grains can be combined or used separately.

Since the advent of the spiralizer, so called “zucchini spaghetti” also known as zoodles, are being cranked out to replace the flour based ones.  They are consumed raw in a salad or sautéed with a light tomato or mushroom sauce with vegetable or ground meat “meatballs.”  They are a good source of vitamin A, potassium and manganese.

Spaghetti squash has also made a nice resurgence.  It is that yellow, hard skinned squash that resembles a football.  It is used to replace the flour based spaghetti.  It is best roasted in a 425 degree oven sliced in half lengthwise with seeds removed for about 25-30 minutes or until squash is fork tender.

Finally, for those of you who love pizza but cannot eat the wheat floured crust, it is cauliflower to the rescue!  Cauliflower pizza is the latest gluten free trend for pizza lovers!  The crust is prepared with steamed cauliflower along with egg and cheese.  This cruciferous vegetable supplies good amounts of vitamins C + K along with folate.

So, there you have it!  Start off the new year right by experimenting with one or all of these foods!

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.  www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63  e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetable Beef Stew

445With the harbinger of winter just around the corner and the cold temperatures penetrating through the multitude of layers worn,  there is nothing more comforting and satisfying than coming home to the aroma of a homemade nourishing and hearty stew.  For many of us, the aromatic scent of a stew triggers memories of our childhood.  After having endured a long day at school, there was nothing better than coming home to mamma’s home cooking.  The smell alone instilled a feeling of love and warmth.

At this time of the year, there is a wide selection of colorful root vegetables to choose from.  There are rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes and many varieties of potatoes.  I just recently bought purple potatoes at the farmer’s market.  Not only is the skin a deep purple hue but the potato itself is aubergine in color.  I immediately imagined what a lovely color to add to a robust stew.  There are no rules on what you can put into a stew.  Use your imagination and have fun with it!

As far as the protein is concerned, any stew meat will work just fine.  Grass-fed beef, bison or lamb are good choices.  If you are vegan or vegetarian, do not despair , you can substitute seitan which is wheat gluten or tempeh which is a fermented soy product.  Both of these products will add the texture of meat.

Most stews start off with a base of garlic, onion, carrot and celery which is the classic mirepoix.  The ratio is usually two parts onion to one part carrot and celery.  It is not only a good idea to have vegetable and protein cut into equal sizes for uniform cooking but it also is aesthetically more appealing to the eye.

It is important to add liquid to the pot which will ultimately give a creaminess to the stew. It is crucial to cover the chunks of vegetables and protein, stirring occasionally and partially covering with a lid.  If the liquid has been absorbed and the vegetables are still hard, you will need to add additional liquid.  If, on the other hand, you add too much liquid, you will wind up with a soup instead of a stew.  For the liquid, you may use either a vegetable or meat based stock to achieve the flavor you are seeking.  The advantage of using stock in place of water will provide you with additional nutrients.

As for flavoring, you have a lot of leeway.  If you prefer a stew with a hint of tomato, add a Tablespoon or two of tomato paste.  If you, like me, prefer a subtle smoky flavor, add a pinch or two of smoked paprika.  The addition of red wine gives the stew a more robust and rich flavor.  The following herbs also enhance the flavor:  fresh thyme and/or fresh minced flat leaf parsley.  During the cooking process, you may wish to add a bay leaf or two.  Don’t forget to add sea salt to taste.  This is the basic recipe.  Feel free to make adjustments to suit your own taste.  In addition, this stew is appropriate for many of the healing dietary protocols with some basic modifications.

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef services, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.  www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63 e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

 

Cream of Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup

img_20161017_225050This is the time of year when a creamy homemade vegetable soup is just the thing to take the nip out of the air and provide warmth and nourishment to the body.  This particular soup can be prepared vegan without any dairy or it can be prepared with a dollop of creme fraiche.  Either way, it is a velvety creamy texture and oh, so satisfying.

If you are vegan, just leave out the creme fraiche.  If you are following one of the dietary protocols recommended by your healthcare practitioner, it is appropriate for the Candida Elimination Diet, Low FODMAPS Diet without the garlic and onion, the GAPS Diet, the Gluten Free Diet, the Paleo Ketogenic Diet, Vegan Diet with no dairy, the Vegetarian Diet and the Weston A. Price Diet.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 medium onion diced

1 stalk of celery diced

1 medium red bell pepper roasted

4 cups of vegetable broth (homemade is preferable)

1 28 oz. can of tomato purée

1 Tablespoon of lime juice

1 teaspoon of chili powder

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander

3 Tablespoons of flat leaf parsley minced

1/2 cup of creme fraiche (optional)

Sea salt & black pepper to taste

Procedure:

In a medium pot, add the oil and garlic and simmer until golden.  Add the onions, mix, cover and cook until translucent.  Add the celery.

Roast the pepper on a gas burner, turning it until it is charred all over.  Set aside to cool.

Peel and deseed the pepper.  Coarsely chop and add to the pot.  Mix well.

Add the broth and tomato purée and mix well.

Add the lime juice and sea salt and blend with an immersion blender until creamy.

If you are using the creme fraiche, add it here.

Garnish with parsley.

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.  www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63  e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

Pan Fried Lemon Sole – A Healthy Choice for many Specialized Healing Diets

lemon-sole-20161016One of my clients for whom I provide chef service, is suffering from a diagnosis of Lyme Disease and has been advised through his functional medicine doctor to follow the Paleo Ketogenic Diet.  One of the main dishes that I recently prepared for him is lemon sole.  Lemon sole is a very delicate thinly sliced white fish that has virtually no bones to deal with.   It does not have a fishy odor and is considered a good protein choice on this particular diet.

It is quite easy to prepare.  Some people like it dipped in a little coconut flour before sautéeing but it is also good just as is.  Add about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add a teaspoon of both minced garlic and ginger and simmer until golden.  Add the slices of fish.  Salt and pepper it and squeeze a generous amount of lemon.  Drizzle a little coconut aminos and that’s it!  Since it is such a thin and delicate fish, it cooks up quickly.  It will be done in about 3 minutes per side.  Turn over, salt and pepper, add lemon.  Drizzle a bit more coconut aminos.

This dish is appropriate for the following specialized dietary protocols:  The Auto-Immune Paleo Diet, The Candida Elimination Diet, the GAPS Diet, the Low Histamine Diet and the Paleo Ketogenic Diet.

Note:  For the Low FODMAPS Diet, leave out the garlic.

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.  www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63 e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

Taking Back My Health 1 Day at a Time

Yam Noodle Vegetable Stir FryI just received the results from my yearly physical exam. They were atrocious, to say the least.  I had gained 12 pounds in one year, my cholesterol was way up and if that weren’t enough, my liver enzymes were sky rocketing as well.  I immediately thought to myself, “What kind of example am I sending the public about me and my business when I cannot even take care of my own health?”

I immediately began to incorporate many more vegetables (both raw and cooked) into my daily diet cutting way back on butter, cheese, grass-fed meats and chocolate.  In addition to the diet makeover, I have made every effort to get to the gym at least 3-4 times a week.

After having made these two changes, I have already been experiencing the positive results.  Instead of feeling fatigued and drained, I am energetic and ambitious.  I no longer feel incessantly hungry all day.  I even invented some killer new recipes on the spot, one, of which, I will share with you.

I never thought this would happen to me but it did and thankfully, I caught it in the knick of time before irreversible damage set in.

I was putting so much effort into my business (marketing, scheduling clients, etc.) that I was ignoring myself and I didn’t even realize it!  It just sort of happened due primarily to a lack of poor time management.

I am not perfect.  I have faults just like everyone else.  The important part is to admit it and move on by doing something about it.  I could have just said to myself, “Oh well, I am getting older, it is too late to change old habits, yada, yada, yada.”  But I made the conscious choice to make the necessary changes and in just three days, I am noticing a huge difference!

I hope this piece of writing is inspiring to those of you who feel you just can’t do it.  To all of you, I say, yes, you can!!!

Sweet Potato Glass Noodle Stir Fry  

Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeño (seeds discarded)

1 large clove garlic minced

1 teaspoon minced ginger root

1/2 medium onion sliced thinly

1/2 red bell pepper sliced thinly into strips

1 cup of chopped broccoli

2 stalks celery sliced on a diagonal

1/3 cup chickpeas

5 ounces sweet potato glass noodles

3 tablespoons Nama Shoyu or Coconut Aminos

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons minced parsley

2 scallions cut on a diagonal for garnish

Procedure:

In a large covered pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil.  Add a pinch of salt.  When water is boiling, add the noodles.  Stir frequently to eliminate clumping.  When cooked al dente, drain, rinse in cool water and set aside.

In a medium pot, add 4 cups of filtered water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Prepare an ice bath with ice cubes and a little cold water to cover.  Set aside.  When the water is boiling, add the chopped broccoli.  After about a minute or two, drain the water and plunge the broccoli into the ice bath to stop the cooking.  Strain and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, add oil and the garlic, ginger root and jalapeño.  When golden, add the remainder of ingredients one at a time in the order given.  Stir.  Do not overcook.  Add the drained noodles and liquids.  Garnish with scallions and parsley.

Note:  For the Low FODMAPS Diet, leave out the garlic, onion and scallions.  Swap out the broccoli for bok choy and the shiitake mushrooms for zucchini.  Swap out the chickpeas for your choice of grass fed meat.  Use Coconut Aminos in place of tamari.

Note:  For the Low Histamine Diet, swap out the chickpeas for your choice of grass fed meat.  Use Coconut Aminos in place of tamari.  Leave out the rice vinegar.

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.  www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63  e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com