Living the WELL Life

Spring Cleaning Time! - by Christina Pirello

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's that time of year again!  Time to clean our houses and prepare for spring.  Did you know you can spring clean your body too?  I've got some recipes that can help.

Creamy Shiitake and Cannellini Soup
Penne Alio e Olio
Baby Carrots and Crispy Potatoes
Apples, Oranges and Olives on Endive
Patrecia’s Yummy Oatmeal Treats

Creamy Shiitake Soup
Makes 4-5 servings

1 yellow onion, diced
8-10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked until tender, thinly sliced
½ cup cannellini or other white beans, rinsed well
¼ cup pearled barley
4 cups spring or filtered water
sea salt
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons barley or white miso
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish

Place onion, shiitake mushrooms, beans and barley in a soup pot with water, a pinch of salt and a bay leaf.  Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until beans are soft.  You may need to add a bit of water if the soup is too thick. Remove a small amount of broth and dissolve miso.  Stir back into soup and simmer, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.  Serve garnished with scallion.  Note: you can create a richer soup by using half unsweetened almond, soy or rice milk and half water.

Penne Alio e Olio
Makes 3-4 servings

1 pound penne pasta, cooked al dente
¼-13 cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper
1 bunch fresh basil, coarsely chopped

Bring a pot of water to a boil with a generous seasoning of salt. Cook the pasta al dente, about 9 minutes.  While the pasta cooks, place oil in a deep skillet over low heat. Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 5 minutes to cook the garlic a bit.  When the pasta is ready, simply transfer it to the skillet, draining it with a slotted spoon and mix gently with the oil, garlic and fresh basil. Serve immediately.

Baby Carrots and Crispy Potatoes
Makes 3-4 servings

12 baby carrots, tops removed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Sea salt
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup


12 red skinned potatoes, quartered, do not peel
Sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil
Cracked black pepper
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, halved
2 sprigs fresh thyme

Place carrots in a pan with water to just cover. Add thyme, bay leaves, a generous pinch of salt and rice syrup. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes.  While the carrots cook, cook the potatoes. Place them in a deep skillet with water to just cover and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes.

When the carrots are tender, remove thyme and bay leaves and drain carrots. Set aside.  When the potatoes are tender, drain them well and return them to the same skillet over high heat. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the potatoes. Toss the potatoes to coat them with oil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lemon zest, garlic cloves and thyme. Toss well and using a masher, press the potatoes into the skillet. Do not mash them; just press them down. Toss them every 2-3 minutes to evenly brown and crisp them.  When the potatoes are ready; remove the thyme sprigs; toss with cooked baby carrots and serve.

Apples, Oranges and Olives on Endive
Makes 4-5 servings

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup
Sea salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 granny smith apples
7-9 ripe oranges
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4-5 Belgian endive, halved, sliced into strips*
2 stalks celery (tender, inner stalks), thinly sliced on the diagonal
½ (one half) cup pitted oil-cured black olives, slivered
2 stems fresh basil, leaves removed, left whole

Whisk together vinegars, rice syrup, sea salt to taste and oil until smooth.  Slice apples and remove seeds, but do not peel.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.  Cut the tops and bottoms off the oranges to expose fruit.  Then, resting the fruit on a cutting board, slice off peel, including the pith.  Cut segments free from inner membranes and mix with apple slices and lemon juice (to prevent browning). 

Toss together endive, celery, olives and fresh basil together in a mixing bowl.  Toss oranges and apples in with endive.  Finally, toss with enough dressing to coat.  *Any bitter green will do in this recipe, watercress, arugula, escarole, dandelion, etc.

Patrecia’s Yummy Oatmeal Treats
Makes 24-30 treats

¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup brown rice syrup
Pinch sea salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup almond or other nut butter (generous half cup)
½ cup golden raisins or unsweetened dried cranberries
3 cups quick oats

Place almond milk and syrup in a sauce pan over low heat. Stir in salt, vanilla and cocoa powder. Cook, stirring, until the edges of the mixture begin to bubble. Turn off heat. Stir in nut butter and raisins, mixing well. Fold in oats,1 cup at a time until all the oats are thoroughly mixed in and the mixture is thick.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  

Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and arrange on baking sheet. Press lightly with your fingers to flatten the balls to look like cookies. Allow to set for 30 minutes before serving (or place in the fridge so they set more quickly).


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