Spices and Herbs – Can’t live without them

Was planning to write about medicinal spices and loved this post from a fellow food lover in Romania. Thanks Gabi!

Cooking Without Limits

GAB_3326_res Cardamom

My kitchen magic is in using spices and herbs.

Herbs and spices bring food to life. With a bit of experimentation, you can reach a bliss point of taste and aroma that will take ordinary dishes to a whole new level. Spices have also been known to improve health and well-being. They are good for both body and soul.

Building your spice collection is a life-long process: it is certainly not something you should try to do in one day.

GAB_3834_res_mix Spices

Here is a list of my favorite spices and herbs:

Cardamom – This warm, aromatic spice is widely used in Indian cuisine. It’s also great in baked goods when used in combination with spices like clove and cinnamon.

Cayenne Pepper – Made from dried and ground red chili peppers. Adds a sweet heat to soups, braises, and spice mixes.

Cinnamon – Found in almost every world cuisine, cinnamon serves…

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GF Pumpkin Butter Ravioli

Another delicious way to eat pumpkin, which is extremely rich in beta carotene and great for the spleen. Try experimenting with some of your favorite spices like nutmeg, basil or oregano. This recipe makes enough for two people.

GF Pumpkin Butter Ravioli

For ravioli:
1.5 cups GF flour blend (I like brown rice, oat and millet)
1 egg
1 TBSP coconut oil
1/4 + cup water

1/2 cup pumpkin butter (blend equal portions of pureed pumpkin and raw or organic butter. You can swap the butter for coconut oil however use only 1 TBSP oil with 1/2 cup pumpkin puree.)

Olive oil
Parmesan cheese (or ground cashews as a cheese-alternative)
sautéed onions and red bell peppers (optional)

 1. To make ravioli combine ingredients in a bowl and mix with hands until dough forms. Add water slowly so that you add just the right amount. You want to be able to roll your dough and for it not to stick on your fingers, however you don’t want it crumbly. You might need to experiment with your flour choices to get the right consistency. To make things easier you can use a pre-packaged GF flour blend.
2. Roll dough out on a sheet and roll as thin as possible. Make sure dough is still strong enough to hold a filling,
3. Cut into small squares and add a small spoon of pumpkin butter. Fold and crease with a fork to seal the edges.
4. Meanwhile boil water on the stove and begin adding ravioli a few at a time for about 2-3 minutes tops. The ravioli will float when they are ready.
5. Top with fresh olive oil and garnishes of your choice.

Toddler snacks 

My little monster isn’t much for sweets but she loves these little treats I make for her. I use carob instead of cacao and sweeten  with juicy Medjool dates and coconut. Simple, quick and easy to travel with.

1/2 cup organic shredded coconut

1/3 cup carob powder, raw or roasted

About 10 dates, juicier the better (Medjool are my favorites!)

1. De-pit the dates and with your fingers or a blender mash the dates into a paste.

2. Add in the carob and coconut, a little at a time until you reach the right consistency (you should be able to roll a ball without it sticking to your hands).

If you are feeling fancy you can roll these beauties in shredded coconut, goji powder, hemp or chia seeds. Anything your kids go crazy for!

10 Reasons I Quit Sugar

Once upon a time this little pink frosted cookie made my mouth water.  Today, with a bit more awareness about sugar, I would feel the need to apologize to my body for eating it. Here are ten reasons why I developed a healthy fear of this pretty treat.

  1. Sugar is the most nutrient dead food source in the world.
  2. Sugar causes the body to deteriorate.
  3. Sugar causes premature aging.
  4. Sugar feeds yeast and bacteria in the body.
  5. Sugar upsets mineral relationships in the body.
  6. Sugar greatly weakens the immune system.
  7. Sugar feeds cancer cells.
  8. Sugar leads to weight gain and obesity.
  9. Sugar weakens eyesight.
  10. And, for me, a little sugar makes me want more.

The good news is that even though sugar is sugar there are “healthier” forms than others. Here are fourof my favorites:

  • Rapadura is sugar extracted from sugar cane at low heat and unlike other sugars has not had the molasses separated from it. Rapadura is a whole food product  that metabolizes sower than traditional sugar and has all its vitamins and minerals intact.
  • Maple Syrup contains rich amounts of minerals, including maganese and zinc, and contains 15 times more calcium than honey.
  • Honey is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, helps stomach ulcers and is good for both high blood pressure and constipation. Honey is one of the hidden gems of the world and is best eaten raw as it offers various enzymes that are destroyed when heated.
  • Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the leaves of a plant indigenous to Brazil and Paraguay. Be sure to use ground leaves, which look like a green powder or a whole leaf extract. There has been some discussion about stevia and its effect on fertility so proceed with caution if you are trying to conceive.

Remember that with any food, moderation and variety are key.






The Healing Powers of Broth

The Healing Powers of Broth

My most cherished traditional activity. Often called Jewish Penicillin, liquid gold and known as the most prized gift that a bride can receive- gelatinous broth.

But why you might ask?
Well, broth has been known for generations as natural, therapeutic medicine for the whole family.  Broth helps to digest cooked foods, particularly meat, milk and glutens, lowers atherosclerosis, inhibits cancer cell growth and assists in symptoms resulting from arthritis and IBS.  Broth consists of more easily absorbed calcium, phosphorus and magnesium than any other food source and can save you a lot of money on expensive supplements that might be doing more harm than good. Broth contains about 30% glycine which pregnant women are in great need of so if you are planning to have a baby or already on your way, be sure to include broth in your daily routine.  Your baby will thank you for it!

I cannot begin to explain how amazing the incorporation of broth into my life has been. Due to the regular consumption of homemade broth, I feel nourished, energized, and have a consistent and regular body rhythm. I was asking my fiancée just today, “When was the last time I explained about my stomach?” and he replied, “A long time.” He is right. I sleep better, go to the bathroom regularly, have zero gas or stomach pains, do not suffer from PMS cramps, and have a radiant glow which sweeps over my body. You see, broth is loaded with trace minerals, which most of us are greatly deficient in.  The food supply chain has left us with food that has lost up to 80% of its nutrients which our ancestors readily enjoyed.  One sure way to incorporate these lost minerals back into our diet is to regularly consume homemade organic broth. Making broth is easy, cheap and reconnects tradition with the modern lifestyle.  For me, making broth offers me a chance to practice loving self-care, just as my great, great, great grandmother would have done.

Action: Go to your local butcher and ask if they have any bones left over which they can give to you. Or you can buy a whole chicken and have them chop it up for you so you can fit it in a pot. When you get home put the bones or the whole chicken in a pot and fill with water so it levels off at 1 inch above the bones or the chicken. Add about 2 TBSPs of apple cider vinegar for every kilo of bone that you use, as well as some carrots, onions and celery. Let the pot sit for 1 hour, without any heat.  After one hour bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to simmer for as many hours as you can. I tend to simmer my bones for 6 hours. Remove from heat and pour liquid out of the pot with a strainer. Throw out the bones and if using chicken pull off the meat and set aside for use in another recipe.  The meat will be soft and tender- delicious! Allow the broth to cool for about an hour or so and then put in the fridge. You will notice that within hours the liquid will turn into jelly. This is a good sign as it shows the quality of the minerals you are receiving. When I use beef bones a thick top layer of lard forms, which I scrape off and use in my cooking as I would normally use butter or oil. I use the rest of the broth to cook veggies, animal proteins, to make soups/sauces/gravies and I even serve the broth as a warm soothing drink.