a fall meal prep: basics edition

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If you can squeeze in a little time on the weekend, do this: head to the market and pick up fresh, seasonal fruits, veggies and greens.  Wash them and store them so that they are ready to use.  Then make a few basics- these will vary depending on your preferences.  For us, I like to make: a vinaigrette, a pot of beans, a pot of grains, hummus, baked tofu, and almond milk.  Maybe a baked good or snack too, if I’m feeling ambitious.  Having these things on hand and ready to go makes eating healthy really easy.  Here’s our basics for this week.

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vinaigrette:

1/2 cup ACV

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup minced shallot

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

2 tablespoons honey, agave or maple syrup

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

salt and pepper

whisk all ingredients together and store in a mason jar in the fridge.

pot of beans: chickpeas this week, a double batch (one for hummus and one for eating whole).  3 cups chickpeas soaked overnight, drained, and cooked until tender with salt.

pot of grains: barley this week, 2 cups of the pearled variety, simmered in a pot of boiling, salted water (like pasta) for 40 minutes or until tender.  good for grain salad, morning porridge, as a side, in soup.

hummus: beet hummus this week.  I toasted some pine nuts, too, to serve on top.  a great healthy snack and delicious dolloped on a salad.

baked tofu: super simple, just slice a block or two of super firm up and bake plain or rubbed with olive oil at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes on parchment/silicone mat.  Menawhile, mix up 2 tablespoons of tamari with a teaspoon of maple syrup and a large minced garlic clove.  Remove from oven and drizzle with the tamari mixture while still hot.  Let cool and pack in a glass container to store, making sure to pour in any tamari left in the pan.

almond milk: I’m not sure if anyone even needs a recipe, but it’s 1 cup of almonds soaked overnight.  Drain in the morning and add to a high speed blender with 1 medjool date, pinch of salt, and 4 cups of water.  You can add vanilla too if you like.  Blend on high until smooth and pour through a straining bag- I simply use my organic cotton produce bags to strain and it works great.  You can use cashews, too, without soaking or straining since they are a softer nut.  Same with hemp seeds.

chocolate bark: what’s life without chocolate?  Having this satisfying crunchy little bite in the fridge is a life saver.  Just melt 8 oz. of dark (70% +) chocolate in a bowl set over a small pot of boiling water.  Turn off the heat and mix in whatever flavorings you like- chipotle, orange zest, vanilla, cinnamon, mint extract, almond extract- or keep it plain.  Pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat and spread in an even layer as thinly or thickly as you like.  Sprinkle over toasted nuts, seeds, or anything else you want- freeze dried fruit, goji berries, hemp seeds, pepitas, hazelnuts, flaky sea salt, chopped crystallized ginger, cacao nibs- and place int the fridge until set, about 20-30 minutes.  Remove from fridge and break up into 1 oz or so pieces.  I store it in a glass snaplock container in the fridge so it stays snappy.

wash/prep veggies: wash and cut up carrots for snacks.  Wash, dry and store kale, lettuce, spinach, and chard.  Wash, dry, and cut up cauliflower or broccoli or brussels.  This way, everything is ready to use and eat.

Spending a bit of time prepping is a great investment in the week ahead.  When you have things made in the fridge, it’s so much easier to stay on track with healthy eating and stress less when things (inevitably) get crazy during the week.  Even if you only have time to wash your greens and make a batch of dressing, it’s worth it!  Hope you enjoy and be sure to tag me in your meal prep on Instagram @mamaeatsplants !

 

 

 

 

 

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Sickness + a turmeric ginger immunity latte.

Turmeric ginger pepper immunity latte flu prevention

(For the turmeric latte recipe, scroll to the very end of the post 🙂 )

My daughter for sick for the 100th time since kindergarten started.  *le sigh* kids are so germy when they are all together!

Happily, no one else has gotten sick… Yet.  And she has gotten a thousand times better just from herbs and natural remedies.  So I thought I would post today about my go to herbal medicine cabinet when illness strikes.  I don’t like to use medicines for kids, they are often unnecessary and very harsh to a little body who is not equipped to process such toxins.  Remember when they recalled cough and cold medicines for kids because they are dangerous and don’t even work?!  I go the herbal route and it has worked for us 90% or more of the time.

First of all, for fevers, I don’t give fever reducing meds like ibuprofen unless the fever is over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  Children can safely have higher fevers than adults.  Fever is a natural defense your body utilizes to get rid of the virus/bacteria.  If you lower the fever, you are lowering the body’s ability to heal itself!  Lukewarm baths and cool washcloths for the head can help to comfort a child with a fever.

Do not give cold liquids!  This is jolting for the body and it has to struggle to bring it back up to equilibrium.  Warm liquids encourage the removal and dislodging of mucus and congestion and are soothing for a sore throat.  Especially beneficial are herbal teas like chamomile, elderberry, slippery elm, and echinacea.  Traditional medicinals brand teas have tons of great blends just for kids.  Stir in a tablespoon of coconut oil for a sore throat.  Also great are warm water with lemon juice added, and diluted warmed citrus or apple juices.

Support the body’s natural ability to heal with herbs!  I love the herbs for kids brand of tinctures, they have lots of different blends for different ailments.  The two I use the most are the echinacea +astralagus for deep immune support and the cherry bark blend for respiratory support.

If there is mucus, I always give marshmallow root.  It has mucilaginous qualities which help to remove mucus and break up congestion.  I buy it in capsules and then empty 2 capsules into hot liquid and stir it up.

For coughs and colds, I find umcka syrup to be amazing.  It is a homeopathic syrup that is widely used in Europe to shorten the duration and severity of colds and it really works well.

Elderberry syrup is also wonderful for supporting the immune system and reducing the severity of illness.

As far as homeopathic medicines, I always keep belladonna (for high fevers, infections and inflammations) and pulsatilla (runny nose, mucus, clinging child) around.

Ear infections respond really well to warmed oil with garlic and mullein.  You can buy it in a little dropper bottle at your health food store, usually it has arnica added too-a homeopathic medicine for pain relief.  Just warm up the whole bottle by submerging it in hot water.  Test some oil on your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot.  Then have your child lay on their side and drop 5 drops of the warmed oil in each ear.  Sing or tell a story while you do this so that they will stay at least a minute on their side.  Do the other ear the same way too even if it doesn’t hurt.  HOWEVER if the ear is leaking pus/blood/liquid do NOT put anything in it, this means the eardrum has perforated.

If your child doesn’t want to eat, it’s OK!  Sick animals do not eat.  This is because digestion takes LOTS of energy.  Energy going towards digestion=energy taken away from healing and fighting sickness.  Give foods that are easy to digest with high water content, like juicy fruits (citrus, pineapple, grapes, mango) white rice, warmed broth and steamed broccoli.  Absolutely do not give your child dairy or wheat when they are sick.  These foods produce mucus in the body, adding to the mucus that is already there when they are sick, and are generally hard to digest and irritating to the digestive tract.

Essential oils are another great tool to have.

eucualyptus: breaks up congestion, good to dilute and rub on chest and to put in a diffuser and or humidifier, or in the bath.

peppermint: relieves headache.  Dilute and rub on temples, jaw, forehead to relieve pain.

Clove and cinnamon oils: are potent anti virals, dilute and rub on the bottoms of feet to fight and prevent illness.

lavender: very calming.  Great for massage or in the bath to calm an irritated or sad child.

And lastly, to ensure no one else gets sick, up your intake of immunity boosting foods…mushrooms, greens, vitamin c rich foods, lemons, spirulina, turmeric, ginger, garlic, etc.  If you feel like you are getting sick my favorite remedy is to blend lemon juice, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic and honey all together and drink it.  It really works!  Also, this turmeric-ginger latte is a delicious favorite.  Here’s the recipe:

Turmeric ginger immunity latte.

2c plant milk (almond, hemp, coconut, whatever)

A few quarter sized slices of ginger

1t ground turmeric

1/8t fresh ground black pepper (this increases the turmeric’s bioavailability a lot)

honey/sweetener to taste

bring the milk and finger slices to boil in a small saucepan.  Let them simmer for 5 minutes, covered.  Fish out the ginger and add the turmeric, pepper, and sweetener.  Pour into a cup and enjoy!