Tomorrow is the day I present my Live Stream - Cooking 101 - Winter Detox Recipes That Don't Deprive zoom workshop.
I am excited to present this as there are ways to "detox" without starving yourself through juice fasts, especially during the winter months when the body craves hearty food.
This recipe and photography I actually captured back in the fall of 2019, but I failed to post it in a timely manner. And sometimes the timing in life works out as it's meant to.
"The very center of your heart is where life begins. The most beautiful place on earth."
During that time I was integrating notions about heart-centered living while integrating foods that incorporate that energy. It is amazing the inner core of the pomegranate is shaped like a star while beets can mimic similar shapes to the heart.
This coordinated beautifully with the fall foliage, and this vintage winter-style dress that bursted pink as bright as pomegranate juice.
The irony of posting this blog when the timing "was right," is that people are awakening to their hearts. There is growth and passion for changing the way we live.
The awakening process is a journey, but much of it comes to the realization that you are the cross. In the center of where the arms meet the torso lays our heart center.
Nutrition habits, lifestyle, mindset and spiritual soundness are all intermingled in our body's ecosystem. One helps the other, but when out of balance, the entire systems gets out of whack.
One way to start living in harmony is through the consumption of whole and real foods. Natural foods provide us the nutrients we need to survive, but also to live more sound on a conscious level. For so long, we've become unconscious through mass consumption of artificial food.
It's time to get back to nature, especially for women who want to live a healthier life.
For more information on foods that promote Women's Wellness, visit this blog: 5 Healing Plant-Based Foods Every Woman Should Eat in their Diet
On 1/26/20 at 6pm PST, I'll virtually present this recipe and two others on the Live Stream - Cooking 101 - Winter Detox Recipes That Don't Deprive. Registration for the public is only $5.
Complete with a shaft of wheat on the table, this holiday is complete with savory food and historic stories.
"Christianity was introduced into Ukraine in 988 A.D. The flourishing pagan religion and traditions associated with it were too deeply rooted in the people to allow the Church to eradicate them completely. Therefore, the Church adopted a policy of tolerance toward most of the ancient customs and accepted many as part of the Christian holidays. In this way, the ancient pagan Feasts of Winter Solstice, Feasts of Fertility became part of Christian Christmas customs. This is perhaps why Ukrainian Christmas customs are quite unique and deeply symbolic.
Ukrainian Christmas festivities begin on Christmas Eve ([G]Dec.24; [J]Jan.6.) and end on the Feast of the Epiphany. The Christmas Eve Supper or Sviata Vecheria (Holy Supper) brings the family together to partake in special foods and begin the holiday with many customs and traditions, which reach back to antiquity. The rituals of the Christmas Eve are dedicated to God, to the welfare of the family, and to the remembrance of the ancestors.
With the appearance of the first star which is believed to be the Star of Bethlehem, the family gathers to begin supper.
The table is covered with two tablecloths, one for the ancestors of the family, the second for the living members. In pagan times ancestors were considered to be benevolent spirits, who, when properly respected, brought good fortune to the living family members. Under the table, as well as under the tablecloths some hay is spread to remember that Christ was born in a manger. The table always has one extra place-setting for the deceased family members, whose souls, according to belief, come on Christmas Eve and partake of the food.
A kolach (Christmas bread) is placed in the center of the table. This bread is braided into a ring, and three such rings are placed one on top of the other, with a candle in the center of the top one. The three rings symbolize the Trinity and the circular form represents Eternity.
A didukh (meaning grandfather) is a sheaf of wheat stalks or made of mixed grain stalks. It is placed under the icons in the house. In Ukraine, this is a very important Christmas tradition, because the stalks of grain symbolize all the ancestors of the family, and it is believed that their spirits reside in it during the holidays.
After the didukh is positioned in the place of honor, the father or head of the household places a bowl of kutia (boiled wheat mixed with poppy seeds and honey) next to it. Kutia is the most important food of the entire Christmas Eve Supper, and is also called God’s Food. A jug of uzvar (stewed fruits, which should contain twelve different fruits) and is called God’s Drink, is also served.
After all the preparations have been completed, the father offers each member of the family a piece of bread dipped in honey, which had been previously blessed in church. He then leads the family in prayer. After the prayer the father extends his best wishes to everyone with the greeting Khrystos Razhdaietsia(Christ is born), and the family sits down to a twelve-course meatless Christmas Eve Supper.
There are twelve courses in the Supper, because according to the Christian tradition each course is dedicated to one of Christ's Apostles. According to the ancient pagan belief, each course stood was for every full moon during the course of the year. The courses are meatless because there is a period of fasting required by the Church until Christmas Day. However, for the pagans the meatless dishes were a form of bloodless sacrifice to the gods.
The first course is always kutia. It is the main dish of the whole supper. Then comes borshch (beet soup) with vushka (boiled dumplings filled with chopped mushrooms and onions). This is followed by a variety of fish - baked, broiled, fried, cold in aspic, fish balls, marinated herring and so on. Then come varenyky (boiled dumplings filled with cabbage, potatoes, buckwheat grains, or prunes. There are also holubtsi (stuffed cabbage), and the supper ends with uzvar."
This vintage shirt and Ukrainian table cloth and other vintage items are available on my Etsy shop, The Elizabethan Closet.
Cook Time: 20-3 minutes
4 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 large lemon, juiced
4 smalls pears, peeled
3 tbsp corn starch
1 cinnamon stick
Wash and peel the pears. Core the pears and slice the pears. In a pot, bring the water with the pear peels to a boil.
Meanwhile, In a bowl, mix together the pear fruit fresh and the lemon juice until well-coated. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce to a low simmer and add in the sugar, spices and pears covered in lemon juice. This will need to cook for nearly 20. minutes or until the pear slices are cuttable with a knife.
Near the end of cooking, dissolve the cornstarch in some water. Whisk until thin, and do not let it sit as the corn starch clumps at the bottom. Pour the dissolved corn starch into the pot and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir constantly and then remove from heat.
COOKING NOTE:The mixture will thicken upon standing. This recipe is for more of a dessert-style recipe. If you want it thicker, add one more tablespoon of cornstarch. For a drink version only add 1-2 tbsp.
Recipe adapted from Ukrainian Recipes
Let's Connect! Enjoy my other Ukrainian / winter-based recipes below!
Excited, I knew this had to be the ultimate authentic recipe.
âMy favorite part of the project was designing the little village and sprinkling powder sugar on top to make it look like its snowing in real-time.
âI will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to
keep it all the year.â
~ Charles Dickens
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home."
- Edith Sitwell
Winter is about the home. It's about spending time with loved ones, and bringing the light and warmth inside. I hope everyone this Christmas gets a chance to have a good meal, a nice conversation and experiences some warmth in the home. Keep bringing the light in, and keep letting the light within you shine.
This vintage dress and cookbook and other vintage items are available on my Etsy shop, The Elizabethan Closet.
âTime: Several Hours
3/4 cup vegan buttery stick
3/4 cup cane sugar
3/4 cup molasses
2 tbsp water
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp each ground ginger, salt and baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg and all spice
2 cups powder sugar
1/4 cup water
Begin by making the dough. In a mixer or with an egg beaters, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Next, beat in the molasses and water.
In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients until well combined. Gradually add the butter mixture and fold until a dough forms, use hands as needed.
âCover the bowl with a lid or cling wrap and let the dough sit for 2 hours. I made the dough in advance and it sat in the fridge for 48 hours.
âWith cardboard make the foundations of the cabin. For the base, cut a 12x12 inch pieces of cardboard and cover with foil. For the roof, cut one 4x6 inch rectangle. For the logs cut one of each size:
-2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide strip
-3.5 inches long and 1/2 inch wide strip
-6 inches long and 1/2 inch wide strip
- 1/2 inch wide square (optional to use hands instead to eyeball it)
On a floured surface, or with a floured rolling pin, take 1/3 of the dough and roll it out to a 1/8 inch depth, and cut out the two roof pieces. Use a spatula if needed to pick up the dough and transfer it to a greased baking sheet.
âContinue to roll out the dough and cut the following at 3/8 inch thickness:
-eight 2 inch logs
-two 3.5 inch logs
â-seventeen 6 inch logs
-30 spacers (1/2 inch squares, I formed by hands)
-Additional shapes as you'd like with the left over dough (I did small flattened balls for stepping stones)
Arrange the pieces on several greased baking trays and bake for 12-15 minutes at 350-degrees.
Once baked, trim one edge on each of the roof pieces to make sure they'll fit and match. Cookies will Harden as they cool. Once cooled, make the icing, and begin assembling the cabin.
âCombine the icing ingredients into a bowl and mix until smooth, no clumps. The icing will be your glue.
I placed the cardboard piece on a cookie sheet. With a pastry brush, cover the foil end in icing and then sprinkle/sift powder sugar on top while its drying.
Use the below image to help with the building of the foundation.
Begin by making the foundation with a six in log in the back and two 2-inch logs in the front. Connect the two with a six inch log on each side, and place a spacer on each of the 2 logs (should be inside of the 6-inch logs. Repeat this three more layers.
On the fourth layer, use 6 inch logs in all four directions. The 6 inch log facing the front, place three spacers on top of that, and then place a 6-inch log on top of the 3 spacers. Use a 3.5 inch spacer and 2 inch logs to build gables on the front and back of the cabin. Place a spacer on each gable.
On the top of the roof, ice and powder sugar then. Ice the bottom ends of the roofs on the top and the bottom, and also ice the top gable. Press and place the trimmed edges on the roof together. Hold for 10 seconds until the roofs form.
Use additional spaces or pieces to begin decorating your cabin, or adding a small roof. I used pine and rosemary to create 'bushes' and design how you would like!
âLet's Connect! Enjoy my other holiday-based desserts below!
Canned pumpkin cannot replace the real deal of the "flesh" coming directly from the source, as word on the street has it that somecan producers use other squash remains and blend it together with pumpkin to "fill up" space. It's almost like the vegan version of a hotdog, which are the scraps of animal remains.
If you're not familiar with Vitamin A, this vitamin helps the body fight infections, vrisues and infectious and fungal diseases.
Alongside with fresh herbs that promotes additional wellbeing, this soup is a win-win for health and taste and reducing food waste. Enjoy!
Time: 30 minutes
2-3 tbsp vegan butter
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz can of pumpkin (or 2 14 oz cans)
1 32 oz. container of vegetable broth
1 cup coconut milk from a can**
10-12 sprigs of thyme, (leaves removed from the stem)
1/2 tsp each of nutmeg, cinnamon + salt
pepper to taste
optional: 1 tsp of cane sugar
in a large pot, sauté the onions and garlic in butter for about 5 minutes. Next, add the spices and sauté for another 1 minute. Add the pumpkin, sugar and vegetable broth, mix and simmer for another 3-5 minutes.
Next, with either a blender or hand immersion blender, blend the soup together with the coconut milk. Pour back into the pot and simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes. Adjust the spices as needed and when it is flavorful to your palate, remove from heat and serve warm!
**Note: If you desire a thicker creaminess, add up to the entire can of coconut milk.**
Let's Connect! Check out my other pumpkin recipes below!
I've been introduced to cast iron skillets over the last year. I cannot believe it took me this long to discover them, but after the first use I love cooking with cast irons. I decided to try my first baking spree with a cast iron by making a pear crisp. I used the sugar and spice combination that I used in my Gluten Free & Vegan Cardamom-Spiced Pear Crostata recipe.
Simple and easy, I hope you enjoy a crisp baked in a different way!
"Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand."
This vintage apron and other vintage items are available on my Etsy shop, The Elizabethan Closet.
Prep: 10 minutes
Baking: 25-32 min.
Equipment - 8 in cast iron skillet
4 small pears, sliced
1 tbsp vegan butter melted
1 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cardamom
Pinch of clove
1 tsp corn starch
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of ginger powder
**If you want a thick crust topping, double the topping recipe.**
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice the pears and mix all of the filling ingredients together in a bowl. Pour the filling into an 8 inch cast iron skillet that has been sprayed or greased.
In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients of the topping until well mixed. Next, add the wet ingredients and mix until the mixture is "wet" and there is no loose flour. Pour on top of the pear filling.
Bake in the oven between 25-32 minutes. Every oven varies so the crust should be golden brown and the crisp should be fragrant. Serve warm!
Let's Connect! Enjoy my other pear recipes posted below!
Seasonal harvest foods are here to bring us some health and hearth into our home during the cooler months.
And for this Thanksgiving, my hopes are to inspire people to eat nutritious food cooked in a simple way, and to appreciate everything that we have/had.
I made this recipe recently during my live Vegan Cooking 101 Demo with Guided Fitness. In that cooking class, I chose healthier versions of some seasonal favorites by cooking and prepping some of the most common holiday side dishes differently. In that class, I also demonstrated cauliflower mashed potatoes and Sweet Potato Orange + Leek Side Dish.
The holidays can still be enjoyable for those who have gluten/dairy issues or food allergies through whole food and dairy-free recipes.
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."
— Melody Beattie
Wherever you are in your life, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season. Our spirits are being pushed and forced to expand, let go, move on, ascend and most of all - find gratitude.
From me to you, I hope the world can enjoy a moment of peace and gratitude on this holiday. Stay well.
“For my part, I am almost contented just now, and very thankful. Gratitude is a divine emotion: it fills the heart, but not to bursting; it warms it, but not to fever.”
— Charlotte Bronte
Cook Time: 15 minutes
1.5 lbs of Brussel sprouts, halved
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 orange, (2-3 tbsp of orange juice, or water)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup walnuts
2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt + pepper to taste
Cut the base off the Brussel sprouts and slice them in half the long way. In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Place the Brussel sprouts cut-side-down into the pan. Let the sprouts cook for about 5-6 minutes on medium-low heat, or until slightly brown around the edges.
Add the cranberries, orange juice (or water), a pinch of salt and mix until well combined. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 2 minutes or until the liquid is mostly absorbed. Remove the lid and add the walnuts, sautéing for another 1-2 minutes, or until the nuts slightly soften. Once the Brussels are done or to your desired texture (should be slightly crispy still), turn off the heat and add the balsamic vinegar and mix until well coated. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm!
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
Let's Connect! Enjoy my other holiday-inspired recipes below!
This inspiration comes from a vintage 1980's dress I found that is covered in bamboo design.
I kept thinking of bamboo, and what to try differently than the traditional brown or garlic sauce. I wanted to create something with crunch but was still healthier and does not include many preservative-based sauces.
Let the bamboo inspire your wellness and wellbeing. The plant bamboo, also has spiritual symbolism to aide us through this difficult time.
It symbolizes strength as the wood is stronger than concrete and steel. The bamboo is strong but also flexible. It may sway in a. storm, but often does not break from turbulent times.
In terms of health, bamboo symbolizes harmony and peace, and also has antibacterial properties.
This vintage dress and other vintage items are available on my Etsy shop, The Elizabethan Closet.
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
1 12oz pack of fried tofu (or use regular tofu)**See Note
16 oz broccolini
1 can of water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
1 can of bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed
2-3 tbsp canola oil
1 15.2 oz jar of apricot jam
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/2-1 tbsp sugar (optional)
2 cups of rice
Begin by cooking the rice in a pot according to the package directions. Generally its a 1:2 rice to water ratio so 2 cups of rice will be cooked in 4 cups of water.
Saute the broccolini in a pan with 2 tbsp of canola oil for 3-4 minutes. While cooking, mix the sauce ingredients into the bowl.
From here, if you have room you can add the tofu, or cook the tofu in a separate pan with one tbsp of canola oil, cooking evenly on both sides.
Next, add the sauce to the broccolini as well as the bamboo shoots and water chest nuts. Simmer on medium-low heat until warm and the broccolini is edible but still keeps a crunch.
Once the tofu is crispy and cooked on all sides, add to the broccolini and then mix until well combined. Serve over the cooked rice.
**Note: Fried tofu is found in the refrigerator section at many Asian grocery stores. Also, the jam is often sweet enough and may not require additional sugar, but for those want it extra-sweet can place sugar in the sauce mixture.
Recipe inspired by How Sweet Eats.
Let's Connect! Check out my other Asian-inspired recipes below!
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com
Follow her travels at: lemontreetravel.com