Recipes


It has been a mild winter here on the West Coast….wet, gray, fogged in day after day, but mild. And that means early nettles!

Here is some info on nettles from Susun S. Weed in her book The Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year (a book I HIGHLY recommend if you are planning on having babies) :

The common stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica, is one of the finest nourishing tonics known. It is reputed to have more chlorophyll than any other herb. The list of vitamins and minerals in this herb includes nearly every one known to be necessary for human health and growth. Vitamins A, C, D, and K, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and sulphur are particularly abundant in Nettles.

Benefits of drinking Nettle infusion before and throughout pregnancy include (Katrina’s note: I feel that many of these benefits are sure to be true after the birth as well!)

~Aiding the kidneys.

~Increasing fertility in men and women.

~Nourishing mother and fetus.

~Easing leg cramps and other muscle spasms.

~Diminishing pain during and after birth. The high calcium content, which is readily assimilated, helps diminish muscle pains.

~ Increasing the richness and amount of breast milk.

~ Improves the elasticity of the veins. Good help for varicose veins.

Feeling inspired to get out to the nettle patch and do some picking!?

As with any wild food harvesting, make sure you know what you are picking before you eat it! I find a pair of garden gloves and a plastic bag works best for harvesting nettles, but a pair of rubber gloves or even a thicker plastic bag for your picking had will work too (they really do sting!) Picking the top 1-2 inches of the plants in early spring (or late winter on the West Coast this year) gives you the tenderest treat, but I found that picking and using even the tougher late summer leaves was fine.

I did loads of nettle smoothies (and nettle tea, and steamed nettles) while I was pregnant with Sophia last spring and on into the summer. My intuition is that nettles and other green smoothies were part of the reason that my iron levels stayed in good range throughout my pregnancy (I was not taking any iron supplements or eating any meat.)

My favorite nettle smoothie:

1-4 cups nettle tops (they are very strong tasting, so if you have never had raw nettles before, start small!)

2 bananas

3 cups blackberries

1 apple

2 cups water

BLEND! YUM!

I also really love steamed nettles with a little bit of coconut oil and tamari. Simply put a huge pile of nettles, stems and all, into a pot with some water on the bottom. Bring water to a boil, and then turn off, leaving the lid on the pot and letting the nettles steam for about 5-10 minutes. Remove steamed nettles from the water and add a little coconut oil and a dash of tamari. After you have eaten the nettles, you can drink the water that they were steamed in!

Nettle tea, or infusion as Susun Weed calls it, is another staple in my kitchen. Here is how Susun recommends making a water based infusion:

Use one ounce of dried leaves (two handfuls of cut-up leaves or three handfuls of whole leaves) in a quart jar. Fill the jar to the top with boiling water, put the lid on and let it steep for four hours at room temperature.

Leaves contain the potent healer chlorophyll. Long steeping extracts all the chlorophyll, as well as the vitamins, minerals, and other medicinal components of the leaves. Steeping in a closed jar keeps the water-soluble vitamins from escaping in the steam.

Having the time to harvest and dry your own nettle leaves for tea is wonderful, but if you don’t, you can almost always find dried nettle in the bulk herb section of your local health food store! If not, try out our favorite bulk herb shop on-line, Mountain Rose Herbs.

There you have it, one of my favorite wild foods, the common stinging nettle.

This is it, one of the best drinks ever:

Cacao D’Arco Rain by my sweetie, David Rain! (As I expected he said “of course!” when I asked him if I could share this here.)

“I made a half-gallon of this drink at a time and did many an all-nighter with it. (Katrina’s note: we don’t in any way encourage all nighters! Get your beauty sleep!) I was lucid all night, and right through the next day. I credit this drink with enabling me to get a significant portion of the files for this site (www.JuiceFeasting.Com) created, updated, and completed in early 2006. This beverage energizes, mineralizes, is anti-fungal, anti-cancer, an aphrodisiac, and sharpens the mind immensely.

Ingredients:

  • Good Earth Original Tea, 2-4 bags
  • Pau D’Arco Tea, 2-4 bags
  • 1.5 quarts water
  • 1 ¼ cups total of a mix of: Sesame Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, and Pumpkin Seeds
  • ¼ tsp Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Vanilla Bean or 1tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 heaping T Maca
  • 1 T Bee Pollen Granules
  • 1 T Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened)
  • 1 T Raw Carob Powder
  • 8 T Ground Raw Cacao!
  • 1-3 Bananas, to taste

Directions:

Make a tea using nearly 2 quarts of water with 2 bags of Good Earth Original tea and 2 bags of Pau D’Arco tea.

Turn off the water after it boils, and allow all the tea to steep in the water as it cools to a slightly warm temp for 4+ hours. Remove the tea bags.

To a Vitamix container, add 1 cup of nuts or seeds. My favorites for this cacao recipe are sesame, hemp seed, and pumkin seed.

Pour the slightly warm tea into the Vitamix. Blend and then strain to make nut mylk.

Pour the delicious Good Earth/Pau D’Arco nut mylk back into the Vitamix, and add:

  • ¼ tsp Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Vanilla Bean or 1tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 heaping T Maca
  • 1 T Bee Pollen Granules
  • 1 T Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened)
  • 1 T Raw Carob Powder
  • 8 T Ground Raw Cacao!
  • 1-3 Bananas, to taste

Blend well and drink slightly warm in a small bowl. To go further, drink this beverage with a bowl of Durian! This drink, combined with Durian, really will fill you with joy and love, clear and open your mind, focus your concentration, and make all your friends and loved ones irresistibly curious about nutrient dense raw food nutrition.”

There you have it! The first time David told me about this drink we were cuddled up in our “room under the stairs” at the Tree of Life, where he was working and I was doing an apprenticeship. I had just arrived from a place where raw cacao was next to impossible to find, and finding people who were excited about raw cacao was just as rare. I swooned as I listened to his list of ingredients, could I really be in the arms of a man who knew how to use and cared about pau d’arco tea, cacao, and maca!!?

The first time he made it for me I swooned even further, and when you make it you will see why!

  • If you are like me, and don’t do too well with too much raw cacao, leave it out and add more carob for Carob D’Arco Rain!

Also, if you are missing and/or can’t source any of the ingredients that can be harder to find such as pau d’arco tea, maca, or bee pollen, don’t worry, leave them out and you will still have an amazing chocolate drink.

In fact, even if you can’t find (or afford) anything but regular cocoa powder, almonds, vanilla, sea salt and bananas, honey, or dates, you are in luck! You can still make an amazing chocolate mylk that will be way better for you and your family than anything you can buy in the store. It will be fresh, made with love, and free from additives, preservatives, and any other kind of yuck.

Here is Chocolate Mylk quick and simple:

  • Blend  1 cup soaked almonds (and or sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, etc.)  in 6 cups water and strain through a nut mylk bag.
  • Pour your nut mylk back into your blender and blend with a generous pinch of sea salt, a generous pinch of vanilla, several ripe bananas OR 4 medjool dates OR a big splash of honey, and 3 TBS cocoa powder (when we don’t have any raw, we like to use Cuisine Camino’s organic, fair trade cocoa powder.)
  • Blend well. Serve at room temperature, warmed on the stove, or chilled in the fridge for a beautiful, whole-foods, plant-based (with the help of some bees), creamy chocolate treat!

Love and Chocolate kisses, Katrina

Here I am, talking about green soup again, it was my 365 photo of the day, and I wanted to talk about it some more! I can’t seem to get enough of it, so simple to make, so satisfying, and so full of those leafy greens that make my world go round. Getting a pound of leafy greens (or more) per day into your body is one of our top priorities, we want you to THRIVE!! This is why David is always talking about the “Four Means to Get Your Greens,” because getting in that many greens can seem daunting until you realize that you can:

1. JUICE your greens. We all know about green juice.

2. Eat your greens in a beautiful, colorful SALAD. We all know about salad.

3. Blend your greens into a green SMOOTHIE. We all know about green smoothies.

4. Blend your greens into a green SOUP. We all know about green soups.

(If you don’t yet know all about these things, Google around and find some recipes to play with. There are so many people blogging about raw food and raw recipes now, and you will be in good company. Learn how to make versions of these things that knock off your socks so that you will be inspired to make more and prosper! You can also check out my favorite raw food books here.)

Yep, simple as that. If you do at least three out of those four, JUICE, SALAD, SMOOTHIE, or SOUP, you’ll be getting in close to a pound and probably more of leafy green goodness. The Four Means to Get Your Greens can be added to any diet, any time, for a wonderful boost to health and vitality. So, if you just finished a cheese burger from Burger King, try starting with a green smoothie every day, and work your way up to having a green smoothie, green juice, cheese burger, and then a green soup :)…..I’ll be honest, I don’t usually do three, but almost every day I have at least two of the four and get in close to a pound of greens because I make my morning smoothies so heavy on the greens, and my soup, salad, or juice so loaded with leafies.

Here is today’s version of Green Beauty Soup:

Start with guacamole. Mash two ripe avocados with the juice of one lemon, a generous dash of Celtic Sea Salt, a generous dash of dill, and 4-8 cloves of crushed garlic.

Then, blend in your high-speed blender the following: 1/2 pound spinach. 1/2 pound mixed baby greens. 1 handful of cashews. 1 TBS hemp oil. 1 small head of broccoli. 1-2 cups water. Blend on high until nice and creamy.

Next, pour your blended greens over your bright green guacamole and mix the two together. Add more salt and dill if needed. Garnish with big red pepper pieces to crunch on the side, and sprinkle with hemp hearts and cashews.

Serves two lucky darlings.

I made this as a good-bye lunch for my mom who headed off on the 3 o’clock ferry today, on her way down to California to be with her husband who is working there for the winter. I wasn’t crazy about the broccoli, but it was still delicious. Sophia enjoyed sucking on a piece of red pepper while we enjoyed the soup.

YUM!Love and leafy greens, Katrina.

(Photo from my 365 Days Project)

I’ve been making big pots of GINGER/LEMON/HONEY tea for these winter mornings and yesterday morning David threw in a few big handfuls of delicious, red GOJI BERRIES! The result? Divinity in a mug, yum! I find drinking ginger tea to be one of the tricks to staying warm and healthy during these colder, wet, and rainy months, and of course goji berries are amazing for the immune system too. Here is how I make the tea:

Take your biggest pot and fill it with water, about 3 quarts (I like to make enough to last throughout the day, and this tea is delicious cold too, so you can put what is left at the end of the day in the fridge for some ginger lemonade.)

Finely slice a 2-3 inch piece of fresh ginger root and put into your pot of water (I like mine really ginger-y, and use a big thick piece about 3 inches long.)

Bring water and ginger to a boil, and then turn off.

Juice 2 lemons and add to pot with 2-3 tablespoons of honey, stir stir stir and ENJOY! For extra goodness, add several handfuls of goji berries.

Other sweet things:

~Sophia’s first tooth made an appearance two days ago and made this mama very excited! It was magic as when you plant a seed in the ground and then a sprout appears, the budding of life never ceases to amaze and thrill me. So far teething hasn’t been too bad. Sophia has had a few restless nights, but because we sleep together I am always right there to nurse her teething blues away and she falls right back to sleep. She also loves having a nice cold carrot from the fridge to chew on (I just give her the whole carrot, washed and with the ends cut off) and frozen strawberries from the fridge work wonders. I have to hold onto the strawberry for her, but she loves holding onto my hands and suck away, and then gives me a big, red strawberry smile! A cold, wet cloth also works really well.

~ I found this BEAUTIFUL blog of baby photographs through my adventures on Flickr. If you love babies, you will love Baby as Art!

~My friend Angela brought this wonderful site to my attention: Positive Birth Stories. One of the best things I did in preparing for labor was to fill my pregnant days with stories such as those found on this site! I love birth stories, I love the uniqueness of each story wrapped up with the universal experience of birth. This site is well worth visiting!

Getting ready to crawl!

Thanks for reading!

Love and goji berry kisses,

Katrina

Hello!

We are coming to the end of a wonderful 17 days here in Texas with the Rainoshek family.

Sophia has seen her first snowfall (ironically for a Canadian baby, her first snow happened in Texas!), we spent four days in San Antonio enjoying the festive energy of Christmas lights and caroling along the River Walk, explored the Alamo and other surrounding Missions, and the McNay Museum held us captive for a long while with Sophia cozy in the Ergo, peeking out at the fantastic world of art.

Traveling with a baby has been a joy, and I am proud to say that I packed lighter for the two of us than I usually do for just myself! I was much more careful about bringing only the necessities for myself, so that David and I would be able to manage everything we packed as well as our five month old baby. One of my least favorite things to do is to lug a huge pile of stuff all over an airport, I’d much rather pack light! We came with three backpacks, a bag with our Vitamix in it, and Sophia’s car seat. Not too bad!

Two things that made our pile of stuff much smaller were:

~Baby-carriers! Instead of a stroller, we brought two baby-carriers along. They pack down small and tight, and are light as a feather! Baby wearing continues to be a joy with the Ergo, and Sophia has started to enjoy the sling style Maya Wrap. I find the Ergo works best for longer periods (going on walks, exploring art museums, going somewhere during nap time as Sophia can fall asleep in the Ergo, etc.) and the Maya Wrap works best for shorter periods and/or busy mama time as it puts Sophia on my side rather than in front (preparing food, doing dishes, in the airport between flights, folding laundry, etc.)

~Breastfeeding! I am never going to be able to celebrate this amazing ability enough! I have watched mothers in airport bathrooms frantically trying to mix up formula with tap water in plastic bottles for their babies, while little baby waits often un-happily. I feel so blessed to be able to tuck Sophia in under a scarf so close to me and to pull out a breast for her, full of perfectly warm, sweet mama’s milk. Breastfeeding requires no bag of bottles and formula, and no water for mixing, and no warming up of bottles. All I needed to pack for this one was myself! (Just watched the Formula Fed America Official Theatrical Trailer, check it out!)

Oh, and a third thing that made our load lighter, disposable diapers. (Opps, sorry.)  Although I am a dedicated cloth diaper user while at home, I feel that some flexibility while traveling via air is OK. I am looking forward to getting my daughter’s bottom out of  disposables and back into her organic cotton pre-folds though!! (As I write this post I’ve just been doing some research on Sodium Polyacrylate, the absorbent matter in disposable diapers, and realizing that I really do NOT want that around my baby, thank you! Get me home to those cloth diapers!)

One thing that made our pile of stuff much bigger was bringing our VITAMIX! This is always worth the lugging though, and I can’t imagine going two weeks without my blender. I love my blender! We put our Vitamix in a briefcase style bag and carry it right on the plane with us, and it causes us no problems, only happiness. We’ve used it three times today already: once for a green smoothie, once for nut mylk, and once for a green soup. AND that green soup was one of the BEST I have had! Here is how I made it:

First, mix up some guacamole in a big bowl with:

2 avocados, juice of 1 lemon, 5 cloves of garlic minced, generous dashes of sea salt, cumin, and dill.

Then, blend in your blender:

3 giant handfuls each of spinach, mixed baby greens, and parsley. 1/2 large tomato. 1/2 cup water.

Then pour blended part over guacamole and mix with a cubed 1/2 large tomato.

Serves two. Enjoy with a loved one!

David and I oohed and awed over this green soup for lunch while Sophia sat on my lap and sucked on a carrot (she doesn’t have any teeth yet, and seems to love the feeling of cold carrot on her little gums.)

We are looking forward to a pre-Christmas-Christmas dinner tomorrow night before we fly home on Thursday morning. I’ll write again soon from our new home on SaltSpring Island!

Love and Blissings, xoxoxoxoxox

Katrina