Lemon and dill go together like peas and carrots. Everything I think, smell or taste dill, it reminds me of childhood of my Ukrainian great grandmother cooking borscht or seasoning potatoes with dill. Dill is an interesting herb that is common in Eastern European cooking, but is an herb we don't use on a regular basis in America.
But nothing tastes better and more pure than a freshly picked batch of homegrown dill. I picked up a bundle for a couple bucks at the Queen Anne Farmers Market this summer. When the weather was hot (a little late posting this!), I craved a cold pasta dish.
Inspired by the complimentarily flavors of lemon and dill, I share this recipe in hopes to ignite healthy cooking on a budget. All you need are some fresh, crisp vegetables, pasta, oil and lemon.
Many of our seasonal foods are boxed, packaged products, which contributes to inflammation in the body. They are foods that are stripped from their nutrients and remain a mystery on why so many people consume these foods on a regular basis.
Healthy, whole foods cooking is not difficult and this dill-lemon pasta contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Dill is used for culinary and medicinal purposes known for aiding digestion and respiratory health and preventing insomnia. It's ironic that with the cooler climate in Eastern Europe, dill is one of the best herbs to consume to prevent chronic respiratory issues.
The plant is native to Russia and parts of the Mediterranean and West Africa. Dill is even mentioned in the Bible and ancient Egyptian writings. The Greeks and Romans prized dill for its medicinal properties. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, used dill in a recipe to clean the mouth and supposed ancient soldiers applied dill seeds to heal wounds.
If our ancestors loved dill so much, why not resurrect the use of dill and try this pasta, a simple and easy-to-make recipe that is perfect for the work week. All you need to do is make and then take!
Vegan Lemon Dill Pasta Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
2 cups uncooked pasta (used small shells)
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 orange pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
Cook pasta according to package dressing. Mix the lemon juice, dill, garlic, salt and olive in a bowl. Set aside while you prep the vegetables.
Drain and cool the pasta. Once cool, mix everything together in a bowl and serve chilled. Enjoy!
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The season is shifting and the planet is ten days away from the fall equinox. As the weather cools, it's time to bring some warmth, nourishment and "roots" into our body. And nothing is more earthly than the potato, a food that has nourished humanity for thousands of years.
Americans, especially fitness professionals, have this "thing" with potatoes. It's a "bad" food because it's starchy and Americans over consume French fries.
I am the potatoes' number one fan! It's not necessarily the potato that is the problem, but HOW we prepare the potato and HOW MUCH potatoes we consume.
Various cultures around the world survive off of, and use the potato as part of their regular diet. The Irish, the Germans, Eastern Europeans, East Indians - everyone uses potatoes, but these cultures either boil, baked or lightly stir fry the potato. The potatoes aren't dunked in a vat of cooking oil and laden with chemicals.
This soup, similar to the taste of a pierogie, is simple, easy and an affordable recipe. I've made this several times and there is a trick to this soup, the size of the potato definitely matters! The smaller the russets, the more you'll taste the onion and garlic. The larger the potato, the more potato flavor you'll have. Please follow the notes below on this recipe.
As we kiss the summer sun goodbye, enjoy this late-summer/fall soup to bring heartiness and warmth to your home.
"My family lived off the land and summer evening meals featured baked stuffed tomatoes, potato salad, corn on the cob, fresh shelled peas and homemade ice cream with strawberries from our garden. With no air conditioning in those days, the cool porch was the center of our universe after the scorching days."
Inspired by the mountains and wildflower season, I created a bar made directly from whole foods, millet, a staple grain used in many cultures around the world.
You can substitute the grain for amaranth or quinoa if you'd like. Many paleo fanatics claim millet is "dangerous," but what they don't realize is that the research that studies African children eat millet several times per day, everyday. Anything done in masses, or as the main part of one's diet, can lead to problems just like fast food in America.
Short and sweet, here is the recipe below!
Prep time: 7 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup uncooked millet
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup dates
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp flax meal (or seed)
1 tbsp orange zest
1.5 - 2 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp orange juice
Preheat oven to 300-degrees.
Melt the coconut oil in a pan and cook the millet for 5-7 minutes, continuously mixing. When done, set aside. Add all the ingredients, except for the chocolate, into a food processor and blend until combined. From here you can add the chocolate (as picture shows) OR after baking, melt the chocolate and drizzle it on top.
Pour the mixture into a 9x5 bread pan lined with parchment paper and press firmly, packing the mixture into the bread pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Let the bars cool and if needed, melt the chocolate and drizzle it on top of the bars. Cut once completely cooled.
The bars will be crunchy. You can also replace the millet with oats, but even better toasted oats!
My new trinkets reminded me of my yoga travels in India. At my yoga school, the chefs served us warm water in copper pots with the theory that we would consume the nutrients from the pot. Inspired by the white flowers and my new antiques, I felt like I wanted to make something with quinoa, a historic dish, but with a Mediterranean flare.
"In order to fly, you must start on the ground."
‘Flying starts from the ground. The more grounded you are, the higher you fly.’, Virgil Kalyana Mittata
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
1 cup of uncooked quinoa, washed and rinsed
2 cups of water
2 persian cucumbers, chopped (or half a regular cucumber)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered and deseeded (used sugar plum)
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Wash and rinse the quinoa in a fine strainer. Cook the quinoa in two cups of simmering water (follow the package directions). While cooking, prep the vegetables and herbs.
Let the quinoa cool, and mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Serve chilled.
If you have leftovers, you may need to add more olive oil or lemon juice as the quinoa will soak up the liquid overnight.
Life is in constant change and in-motion every second of the day. So how could there be only one method of eating for your entire life? The word diet in Greek, diata, and translates to “a way of living” or “mode of life,” which simply means lifestyle.
There is a reason and a season for everything, which is why nature harvests certain foods at different times of the year. As nature transitions, so do our nutritional needs.
As a health coach and trainer, most clients succeed when free from strict diet rules and guidelines. If you live by any guidelines, these six diet and lifestyle tips help you stay healthy every season. These tips help you break away from the rules and regulations of bogus diets and guide you on how to apply these tips to every season.
EAT SUPER FRUITS
Every season nature blossoms super fruits. From citrus fruits in the winter to pineapple in the late spring / early summer, nature provides nutrient-dense fruits that are “important” to the human body in that particular season. It’s why nature provides cooling water-based melons in the summer and fibrous fruits such as kiwis and cranberries in the winter. Although fruits are available year round, go beyond the banana and apple with seasonal fare.
Dietary fiber provides bulk against the colon muscles to expel waste. There are two kinds of fiber and it is important to eat a variety of soluble and insoluble fiber. It is also important to eat a variety of cooked and raw food vegetables. Vegetables, like fruit, is where we get our nutrients from and one of the best ways to do that is to eat raw vegetables. Sometimes munching on plain, raw carrots isn’t for everyone so a salad, topped with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and some salt, is more palatable and an excellent way to consume a variety of raw foods.
AIM FOR BALANCE
Not every meal will be perfect, but for the majority of meals, aim to balance carbohydrates, fat and protein. For example, a falafel sandwich or vegetarian pho are perfect examples of meals that balance the macronutrients, which also includes fresh vegetables.
Mindful eating experts believe in eating via the senses. Visually, what you see on your plate is what you’ll consume. Eating half of a large pizza is “easy” because most of the ingredients are processed and stripped of their nutrients, which does not fill up the body. It’s why we need to eat more of it in order to feel satiated. Bulk up on fiber such as adding more vegetables to pasta or eating a salad prior to consuming the pizza.
Sweet foods are a part of life. The ancients once ate fruit as desserts and today sugar is the drug of choice for most people. It is natural to crave sweet food, but many Americans cope their emotions through binge eating sugar. Eating sugar becomes a habit, but most fail to listen to their inner wisdom to see what they REALLY want to eat. Are you eating boatloads of sugar to cope for your stress, anxiety or displeasure in life? It’s important to discover emotional triggers to see why, when and how you reach out to comforting foods.
GREEN IS GOOD
Every season nature harvests dark leafy green vegetables. From kale in the winter to spinach in the spring, dark leafy greens are an essential food birthed from Mother Nature. Low in calories and high in nutrients, dark leafy greens are great for weight management, rich in electrolyte nutrients and are a valuable food for people susceptible to diabetes and heart disease. Skip the dairy and eat dark leafy greens (ahem, salads aka "kill two birds with one stone") as an ideal source of calcium and iron.
"Nowadays, people are so jeezled up. If they took some chamomile tea and spent more time rocking on the porch in the evening listening to the liquid song of the hermit thrush, they might enjoy life more."
Perfect with an afternoon coffee - or tea - this recipe brings the joy out of every Saturday afternoon to sit outside, smell the fresh air and savor the floral baked goods. Enjoying life is a part of life and you never when one day the world you know and love is gone, so enjoy every ounce of beauty in this world.
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Baking Time: 10 minites
Makes: 15 mini cupcakes
1/3 cup nondairy milk
3/4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1.25 tbsp chamomile, dried and crush (for stronger flavor use up to 2 tbsp, or use tea bag)
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
4 tbsp vegan butter (earth balance buttery sticks) at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp powder sugar
Pre heat oven to 350-degrees.
Mix the milk and lemon juice in a bowl; set aside. Add the dry ingredients into a separate bowl (last 5 ingredients) and mix.
If needed crush the dried chamomile and mix the chamomile into the milk. Add the remaining wet ingredients and mix until all the ingredients are combined. Sift the dry into the wet and mix until combined.
Grease a mini-muffin pan with spray, butter or oil and fill each cup 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 10 minutes.
Once baking, make the frosting. Cream together the butter and vanilla. Gradually add the powder sugar and beat until white and fluffy (use egg beater of mixer). Frost the cupcakes once completely cooled.
"The sweet just isn't as sweet without the sour."
The summer harvest is bountiful and is the most optimal season for good home-cookin'.
Pink lemons, differ from traditional yellow lemons in taste, color and skin texture. I recently blogged about my inspirations from blogfest, which the main theme revolved around being different. So, with a pink lemonade bar in hand, I say, "Tis the season of being different," and enjoy the remaining sunsets of summer.
"It was early evening when they walked outside, the sky the color of pink lemonade."
-Sarah Addison Allen
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 32-37 minutes
Equipment: 9x5.5x 2.5 bread pan
1 3/4 cup vegan sugar cookie
2 tbsp vegan butter, melted
1/2 cup pink lemon juice (or regular)
1/2 pink lemon, zested
1 cup cashew, soaked for at least 2 hours
1 cup coconut cream, from a full-fat coconut can chilled overnight
2.5-3 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp corn starch
optional topping: powder sugar
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Puree the sugar cookies in a food processor into a flour. Mix the cookie with the melted butter until well coated.
Pack the crust in a bread pan (or 8x8) lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes. While baking prepare the filling.
Gently open the can of chilled coconut milk, and scrape out 1 cup worth of coconut cream. Zest the lemon and place all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.
Pour the filling on top of the crust and with a knife, poke any bubbles or holes that remain. Alternatively, tap the bread pan on the counter to release the air bubbles. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. The bars are best cut and eaten once completely cooled in the refrigerator.
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