Sacred and Delicious

SACRED & DELICIOUS

Food • Health • Spirituality

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Three Asparagus Dishes Beckon Spring to Stay

Despite the dismal weekend forecast, organic asparagus are popping up everywhere in gardens and stores, so what better time to make a steaming pot of Easy Asparagus Soup!

Springtime in the South is such a tease:  it’s 80 degrees in February, and then in April it snows. Or as anticipated on Saturday, there will be rain all day, keeping everyone inside during the first full weekend of April, and then the overnight temperature will dip to a wretched 32. Be strong, beautiful azaleas!

As the days warm up into the 80s here next weekend (and as cities further north and west will at least have a brief respite in the 50s), you might want to try a gluten-free Asparagus Pilaf with Quinoa or Millet or some Quick Sautéed Asparagus.

Enjoy these reprised recipes. In partnership with my publisher, I’ve been working full-time to finish production on my gorgeous new cookbook! I’ll be back with another spring recipe this month, so stay tuned.

Lisa J. Mitchell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring on the Dark Chocolate for Valentine’s Day!

If you love dark chocolate and want to splurge a little for Valentine’s Day, do I have a treat for you and your beloved—perhaps the fudgiest brownies you’ve ever tasted! From a health perspective, the good news is that these are not outrageously sweet compared to standard fare, even though I’m told they are sufficiently decadent to stir the passions of any chocolate lover.

First, let me acknowledge what may be obvious to many readers: chocolate, fudge, and brownies are not part of ancient Ayurvedic cuisine. Nonetheless, I believe in adding some flexibility to my offerings so that
people exploring Ayurveda don’t feel constrained by too much austerity. As one of my Ayurvedic mentors Read More

Mushroom Lentil Soup

With so much cold and flu circulating in every public place at this time of year, I started eyeing the shiitake mushrooms at the grocery store today… and then invoked the Goddess Annapurna to help me create a delicious approach to mushroom soup. This Mushroom Lentil Soup is just that—a dish that’s definitely for mushroom lovers, as it boasts a hearty amount of the immune-boosting shiitakes.

The neutral-flavored red lentils, also known as masoor dal, give the soup substance as well as protein and iron. I use a mixture of traditional Ayurvedic spices (cumin and coriander to balance agni) along with classic American herbs (rosemary and sage), which you might expect to find in a mushroom bisque. You can add a couple of tablespoons or more of wine if you wish—just a little adds a nice dimension to the flavor. Read More

Auspicious New Beginnings with Black-Eyed Peas and Greens!

Ask any Southerner how to start the new year in the most auspicious way, and they won’t even blink before naming a bowl of Hoppin’ John or some other version of peas and greens—like this vegetarian Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Collards! Serving such a dish on New Year’s Day is thought to bring good luck because long ago black-eyed peas reminded someone of coins. The greens are said to bring prosperity because greens are associated with green cash. If you enjoy food history, you can read more about this legend at Southern Living  and Epicurious.

My Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Soup is filling because of the generous proportion of peas, and it is made even more satisfying by the addition of butternut squash, a favorite winter vegetable. If you serve this soup over rice, like a traditional Hoppin’ John, you will need little (if anything!) else at your New Year’s Day table.

How can you make your New Year’s Day even more auspicious? Read More

A Sacred & Delicious Thanksgiving with Fresh Cranberry Salad—Reprised

Vegetarian Thanksgiving. Photo by Roger Winstead.

If you incorporate Ayurveda into your life, you will still be able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast—in the spirit of Ayurveda. We do this at our house by cooking everything from scratch and, as much as possible, using fresh organic ingredients. Traditional Thanksgiving spices are more than seriously delicious; they naturally balance the qualities of each dish. So, yes, bring on the pumpkin pie because it’s not Thanksgiving without a little splurge! Just make it healthier and tastier for everyone by using fresh pumpkin and unrefined sugar.

But first, there’s the main event. At our table the stars of the menu are all side dishes: sweet potatoes topped with a pound and a half of pecans; cornbread dressing with caramelized onions, shiitake mushrooms, and fresh herbs; my “Elegant Green Beans” with leeks and basil; grilled tofu (for some protein to balance the carbs); and a refreshing cranberry salad. You’ll find recipes for all of these delectable dishes in my book, Sacred & Delicious, scheduled for publication in on June 5, 2018. But today, for you, I’ll share a sneak peek of the cranberry salad recipe.

This recipe is adapted from one shared with me by my brother, who credits the dish to Andrea Amburgey’s Aunt Louise. I’ve updated what was originally a 1960s’ Jello-based recipe, using only fresh fruits and creating a wholesome addition to any Thanksgiving buffet.

Finally, let’s count our many blessings on this special day, including the abundance of nourishing food at our tables. May everyone everywhere—one day soon, in our lifetimes—have enough nourishing food to eat.

Wishing you and your families a sacred and delicious holiday!

Lisa J. Mitchell

PS I first ran this post in 2014, but I’m sharing it again because these are my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, and I cook them annually!

Spring Delight: Asparagus Pilaf with Quinoa or Millet

It’s still spring so I’m not quite done with asaparagus! I present to you asparagus pilaf cooked two ways, both gluten-free. I’ve tried this recipe with quinoa and millet. Each dish is satisfying enough for a light meal, while they both work well as appetizing side dishes.

This pilaf is a colorful addition to the Passover table or Easter celebration. And a happy invitation to my observant Jewish readers—no guilt necessary! The rabbis have given their blessings to quinoa during Passover, and millet may not be far behind. Read More

Sweet Potato Hash: Healthy Comfort Food

If  you love sweet potatoes, I have good news for you, along with an easy and oh-so-delicious Southern-style recipe! And in case you’ve been following my blog and wonder why I cook with so many sweet potatoes, here’s one reason why: according to Ayurveda, sweet potatoes are one of the best foods for grounding high vata — that light, airy, buzzing energy that you feel when life is moving just a little too fast. Read More

Share a Link in the Fight Against Hunger


Happy
2017, dear readers!

As we step into another Sacred & Delicious year together, I invite you to join me in a resolution to help those who aren’t sure where they will find  their next meal.

Today I’m sharing links to several charities that focus on fighting hunger. I encourage you to post links here to your favorite charities as well. I’m interested in organizations that have a good reputation for feeding others or teaching skills that help people to feed themselves. If you’re already a leader in giving, please lead us to other charities that you know are making a difference.

I think it’s a pretty safe bet that anyone reading food blogs has plenty to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every day. We have so much to eat, it can be easy to forget that in 2015 more than 42 million Americans lived in food insecure households, according to Feeding America. This number includes 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children. And that’s just the hunger picture in the USA.

You may be surprised, as I was, to find North Carolina listed among twelve states that exhibited statistically significantly higher household food-insecurity rates than the U.S. national average 2013-2015 (13.7%). The USDA defines food insecurity as a state in which “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” There is poverty in every state, but in these twelve, more people are going to bed hungry at night.

  1. Mississippi 20.8 %
  2. Arkansas 19.2 %
  3. Louisiana 18.4 %
  4. Alabama 17.6 %
  5. Kentucky 17.6 %
  6. Ohio 16.1 %
  7. Oregon 16.1 %
  8. North Carolina 15.9 %
  9. Maine 15.8 %
  10. Oklahoma 15.5 %
  11. Texas 15.4 %
  12. Tennessee 15.1

So here are a few links:

FEEDING AMERICA

ACTION AGAINST HUNGER

FOOD FOR THE POOR

FOOD BANK OF CENTRAL & EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA

THE HUNGER PROJECT

MEALS ON WHEELS

UNICEF

As you make your resolutions for the New Year, I hope you’ll consider joining in the fight against hunger in 2017. Each of us can offer our blessings in many ways: we can volunteer at a local food bank or food kitchen. We can donate food and funds. And we can offer our blessings to those who are struggling: May everyone, everywhere have enough food to eat.  This is my prayer. And the world’s leading organizations that fight hunger say this is a goal within reach. With our help.

Make it so!

Lisa J. Mitchell

A Gluten-Free Vegetarian Guide to Thanksgiving

20161128_212748If you want to plan an intensely flavorful vegetarian menu for Thanksgiving, look no further! Today I’m sharing a recipe for Gluten-Free Millet Dressing. I’ll also point you to my sumptuous versions of traditional American holiday side dishes, which will fill your family with joy and gratitude!

Why millet?  Millet is a good source of vegetarian protein. One cup of cooked millet offers 6 grams of vegetarian, gluten-free protein, which equals the protein in one egg. It’s also filling, grounding and easy to make.

Now for the rest of the menu. My famous Holiday Sweet Potatoes, topped with a pound and a half of pecans, are the eagerly awaited crown jewel of our holiday table. For a dash of freshness and color I offer this cranberry salad, a squeaky clean, upscale version of the canned stuff that used to be served when we were growing up! Read More

Seven-Minute Sides: Smoky Greens

June14no2(1)A pot of fresh greens is so quick and easy to make! It’s the perfect side dish to a cool summer soup, a quinoa salad, or some Southern black-eyed peas. Greens are always ideal when your priority is easy cooking with a dash of healthy and delicious.

I was inspired to make this dish when one of my husband’s patients brought us a large bag of beet greens right out of her garden, but you can also use a bunch of kale or chard. (Chard cooks more quickly than kale). I suggest  6 to 10 large leaves per person, at least, since they will reduce to a small serving after cooking.

You can use any type of seasoning, but a good artisan salt like Salish Alderwood Smoked Salt transforms an ordinary dish into gourmet food. If you crave a little heat, add some fresh ginger. If Read More