Lemon Laine Cooking Demo with Farm-Fresh, Local Produce

Last month I was given the opportunity by Lemon Laine, a natural beauty & wellness shop, to do a cooking demo for 30 individuals who were eager to learn how to cook very simple recipes using local and fresh ingredients from The Urban Harvest Farmers Market. This farmers market holds a very special place in my heart and over the years I have gotten to know some very wonderful farmers, health advocates and killer chefs.

Three years ago I was struggling with a handful of newly diagnosed syndromes and when I started to get a little stronger, the one social activity I allowed myself to do on the weekends was to visit the Urban Harvest Farmers’ Market. I would buy my produce for the week, ask questions about the farms, their techniques and got to know the true quality of what I was putting into my body.

As time went on, I felt myself getting stronger. Three years later and rarely missing a Saturday at the market, I have been able to heal using these local and sustainable whole foods like a form of medicine. I am mostly asymptomatic from all that used to ail me; I now feel that my handful of illnesses are simply words at this point. I am so grateful for the many local farms we have here in Texas and that I was given the opportunity to highlight a handful of my favorites in these recipes for those that attended this cooking demo.

I cannot stress enough that what you put in your body directly affects how you feel. Find produce that is local and sustainable, that hasn’t traveled far to get to your grocery because these types of produce are picked early, covered in a handful of chemicals and pesticides and have fewer nutrients in them. Local farms not only benefit our body’s but benefit our planet, as well.

Now, the part you all are waiting for; the recipes!

Menu

MOCKTAIL

Grapefruit + Mint Spritzer (optional: Tequila)

SALAD 

Springtime Farm Salad

MAIN

Ground Chicken + Lion’s Mane Lettuce Wraps

DESSERT

 Honeychild’s Sweet Creams Frozen Custard, Strawberries + Candied Pecans

Grapefruit + Mint Spritzer

Ingredients

2 cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, cold

3 tbs local honey

½ cup Plant It Forward’s fresh mint leaves, plus extra for garnish

1 cup cold Topo Chico

A bunch of crushed ice

Animal Farms edible flowers, as garnish

(Optional: 1 cup tequila, divided)

Method

1. In a large punch bowl, stir together grapefruit juice, honey and mint leaves. Stir until the honey mixes into the juice. 

2. Pour in the Topo Chico and stir gently.

3. Line the bottom of each glass with crushed ice, optional step – pour tequila on top. Fill the glass with the grapefruit juice. 

4. Serve immediately with an extra garnish of fresh mint.

(BIG thank you to Bering’s Hardware for providing this awesome Grainware Acrylic Jolly Punch bowl for the event.)

Springtime Farm Salad

Ingredients

Salad

Sustainable Harvesters mixed lettuces, chopped

1 cup Wood Duck Farm Strawberries, sliced

1 cup Plant It Forward beets, sliced

3 Loam Agronomics watermelon radish, sliced

1 cup Dos Brisas Cherry tomatoes, halved

Animal Farms edible flowers, as garnish

½ cup JSH Microgreens, as garnish

1 cup Rio Grande Organics pecans, lightly toasted and chopped

Champagne Vinaigrette 

Texas Hill Country Olive Company olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tbs Dijon mustard

¼ cup champagne vinegar

2 tbs fresh lemon juice

½ tsp pink salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. In a large bowl, add lettuce, strawberries, beets, watermelon radish, cherry tomatoes, pecans, microgreens and flowers

2. Whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Alternatively, you can add all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. 

3. Add the dressing, toss well and serve. For added crisp freshness, leave in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy. 

(BIG thank you to Bering’s Hardware for providing this beautiful Simon Pearce Shelburne Bowl for the event)

Ground Chicken + Lion’s Mane Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

2 teaspoons avocado oil

1 head Sustainable Harvesters romaine lettuce, leaves separated

1 pound Three Sister Farms ground chicken

3 cloves garlic, minced 

5 ounces Laughing Frog Farms lions mane, finely diced

1/3 cup Plant it Forward green onions, finely diced

1/3 cup Dos Brisas carrots, diced

1/3 cup Dos Brisas cherry tomatoes, as topping

1/3 cup Loam Agronomics watermelon radish, sliced as topping

Pink salt and pepper, to taste

5 tbs hoisin sauce

2 tbs coconut aminos

2 tbs rice vinegar

2 tbs sesame oil

Method

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken and garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spatula, until mostly cooked through.

3. Add the lions mane, carrots and green onions to the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, coconut aminos, rice vinegar and sesame oil.

5. Pour the sauce over the ground chicken mixture and toss to coat evenly.

6. Sprinkle tomatoes and watermelon radish over the chicken mixture.

7. Spoon the chicken into the lettuce leaves and serve.

Honeychild’s Sweet Creams Frozen Custard, Strawberries + Pecans

Ingredients

1 4oz cup (per 1 person) Honeychild’s Sweet Creams frozen custard

Wood Duck Farm Strawberries, diced

Rio Grande Organics pecans, chopped

Method

1. In a bowl, add custard, strawberries and pecans

2. Serve and inhale 

What a fun night with these wonderful friends and everyone else that came hungry and read to learn about the food we eat.

Thank you to Lemon Laine for having me and continuing to bring together the community and being a huge advocate for health and wellness. We love supporting businesses like you!

Pomegranate Performance Plus

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POMEGRANATES // may improve exercise performance

Pomegranates are rich in dietary nitrates, which have been shown to improve exercise performance. In a study of 19 athletes running on a treadmill, 1 gram of pomegranate extract 30 minutes before exercise significantly enhanced blood flow.

This led to a delay in the onset of fatigue and an increase in exercise efficiency. More studies are needed but it seems like pomegranates may be beneficial for physical performance, similar to beetroot juice.


For as long as I can remember, whenever I got a good workout routine going, a few weeks into it I would get sick or injured. This would repeat continuously…workout, get sick/injured, recoup and resume. This was just “my normal.” At this point I had so many “normals” I did little research as to the “why”.

Fast forward to age 27 when I finally learned that Celiac Disease had wrecked my immune system. No matter how slight the transition, my body always came down with something. As for the injuries, that is just something I now need to be more careful with due to my EDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndome).

When I signed up for the MS150 in November, I had been digesting my newest and very life altering diagnoses of EDS for only a few months. I was told I was no longer allowed to run anymore which eliminated me from doing a sport I enjoyed: Triathlons.

I do much better when I have something to work towards, so I obviously needed to sign up for a race post diagnosIs to prevent me for feeling sorry for myself…I hate restrictions and I was just given a big one from my Geneticist. Many friends of mine have done the MS150 in the past so I figured why not? The only zinger was, how was I going to keep myself healthy long enough to train properly so that I don’t worsen my EDS and sanity.

8 weeks into light cycling training I got probably the worst cold to date…102 fever for 3 days, no sign of flu…just my body hating itself and punishing me in the process. The weekend before I had gone cycling 20 miles which was my furthest ride to date. Assuming this was my body’s way of telling me I was doing too much, I got extremely bummed out. Luckily I didn’t pout too long and decided to let my body rest up and get back into cycling and just take it slow…long rides on the weekend and 1-2 weekly yoga sessions max.

I am happy to say that was the last time I have been sick and i’m so proud of it. I know it down to the day…141 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY and I assure you I let people know often.

The point of my very dramatic story that is my health, is that I would not have become well if it wasn’t for what I was ingesting. I eliminated gluten which was destroying my body and focused on a very clean “diet” (lifestyle).

During my MS150 training I ingested a lot of pom seeds and beets due to their performance enhancing attributes. Proper fueling was so important for me because I was terrified of getting sick or injured. I was determined to crush the MS150 and say F YOU, EDS!!! I GOT THIS!

The rain got in the way of day 2 of the MS150 but I am A-okay with that. I was having some heart issues the week before and my cardiologist told me day 2 wasn’t going to happen anyway. I ended up riding a little over 100 miles that Saturday and was able to say F YOU, EDS! I GOT THIS!

Post MS150, a few of my favorite snacks found their way into my daily meals. One of my current faves is a super summery salad and it’s extremely refreshing. It’s filled with peaches, poms and lemon juice, the perfect mix to make it seem less hot outside! Enjoy!

PEACH + POM ARUGULA SALAD

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INGREDIENTS

Arugula

1-2 peaches sliced

pomegranate arils

goat cheese crumbles

1 lemon, juiced

1 tbs grapeseed oil

S + PP to taste

  1. Add all above ingredients to a bowl and toss
  2. Enjoy!

    141 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY

-C

Raspberries // your fats worst enemy

Raspberries // your fats worst enemy

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RASPBERRIES // have the potential to improve management in obesity

Although this research is in its early stages, scientists now know that metabolism in our fat cells can be increased by phytonutrients found in raspberries, especially rheosmin (also called raspberry ketone).

By increasing enzyme activity, oxygen production and heat production in certain types of fat cells, raspberry phytonutrients like rheosmin may be able to decrease the risk of obesity as well as risk of fatty liver.

In addition to these benefits, rheosmin can decrease activity of a fat-digesting enzyme released by our pancreas called pancreatic lipase. This decrease in enzyme activity may result in less digestion and absorption of fat.


Breakfast doesn’t have to be super fancy or well thought out–It literally can be the same cereal everyday but with different additives.

Why have just cereal when there are so many ways to change it up? I don’t care for repetition so by adding new “toppings” to my cereal I constantly feel like I am changing it up while getting delicious nutrients to start my day.

My current rotation for cereal toppings are:

granola + raspberries + chia seeds

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bananas + blueberries + chia seeds

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Other delicious and nutritious toppings include:

-goji berries

-cacao nibs

-strawberries

-coconut shavings

-flax seed

-hemp seeds

-passion fruit

-maca powder

-spirulina

How will you change up your morning routine?

83 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!

 

-C

The Radical Radish

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RADISHES // vitamin c packed & good for immune system health

There are countless reasons why radishes are a good addition to your diet but improving your immune system is one of the most important.

A half a cup of radishes per day in a salad or just as a snack is nearly 15% of your daily intake of vitamin c.

Consistently maxing out your daily dose of vitamin c intake can rejuvenate your immune system by replacing many of the antioxidants and white blood cells which are so integral in fighting off every illness from the common cold to cancer.

Vitamin c does not only boost your immune system but it also is considered a super vitamin because of all the other high-impact effects it has on the body.

It helps regulate your metabolism, which changes fat into usable energy and it is a main contributor in the creation of collagen, which is an essential protein that strengthens blood vessel walls and reduces the chances of artherosclerosis and various other heart diseases.


 

I cannot take credit for today’s recipe but I had to share because it’s so good and so easy to make. My transition into a semi-vegan has actually been really fun. I stumbled upon a food truck “Ripe Cuisine” the other month in Montrose and make as many stops as I possibly can. They have many vegan and GF options making my daily stresses on finding GF food possible!

A Short History: From Food Blog to Food Truck

Ripe Cuisine began in 2010 when Stephanie Hoban, chef and owner, began blogging her vegan recipes to showcase her passion for both nutrition and cooking. Most of the recipes focused on re-creating classically “un-vegan” dishes into new “veganized” healthy versions or providing novel recipes for different ways to eat whole, plant-based foods.  Through sharing her recipes, Stephanie aimed to inspire ones to try a new foods, a new way to cook them, and overall broaden their diet in a healthy way. After recognizing the need for nutritious, flavorful, and plant-based food options in Houston, and a mere year later after launching the blog, the Ripe Market Cafe was born, a bi-weekly pop-up cafe held at Urban Harvests Farmers Markets. What was a natural extension of the recipes posted on the Ripe Cuisine blog quickly became the framework for what is today the Ripe Cuisine Food Truck.

They hang out often by Inversion Coffee on Montrose near West Grey, downtown on Taco Truck Tuesday’s and The Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market every Saturday! Saturday’s are the only times they serve their brunch menu but holy moly it’s awesome. Next time I visit the farmer’s market, I will definitely be trying their Acai smoothie bowl. The hyperlink attached to their name has the Food Truck’s nomadic schedule attached! Check them out!

Until then, I dare you to recreate the trucks amazing Avocado Toast!

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AVOCADO TOAST

1 slice of bread toasted

1/2 avocado mashed

1 radish sliced

handful of spiced organic pepita seeds

local onion sprouts

  1. Toast your bread in your toaster (I don’t own a toaster or microwave so I have become very savvy with the oven…to toast some bread in the oven, simply place the bread inside, preheat the oven to 350, once done preheating your bread is now toast)
  2. Mash the avocado and spread across toast
  3. Slice 4-5 pieces of the radish with a knife or mandolin and add to toast
  4. Sprinkle on top the seeds and sprouts
  5. Eat, enjoy, repeat!

71 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!!

-C

 

Lean Green Onion Machine

Lean Green Onion Machine

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GREEN ONIONS // exert a heart-healthy effect

The presence of antioxidants in green onions helps in preventing damage of DNA and cellular tissue by inhibiting the action of free radicals.

Vitamin C helps in lowering high cholesterol and blood pressure levels in the body which in turn lowers your risk of heart disease.

The sulphur compounds present in these onions also help in reducing the risk of coronary heart diseases.


Who says being “vegan” can’t be delicious and messy? Vegan is in parenthesis because I decided to take my transition slow into going on the doctor suggested Anti-inflammatory diet. I still haven’t truly accepted removing delicious Artisan cheeses (that’s for you Mere) and eggs from my diet. Removing red meat and milk wasn’t an issue and honestly I feel much better after eating meals now. Even after being gluten free for over a year, I still did not feel awesome after meals; fatigued, drop in my blood sugar and blood pressure…just all over blah. Instead of feeling energized and ready to conquer the day, I would just want to crawl in bed or on the couch. Removing these items from my diet has been great and I am not looking back!

I love this recipe because it fulfills the need to truly chow down. Going GF, I eat fewer meals with my hands now. Think about it…I don’t eat burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs or wings, etc anymore. Luckily, this dish has all fresh ingredients that will benefit many systems in your body! I made this on parchment paper and just tossed it on the dining room table–No plates or silver wear needed. Here you go!

SWEET POTATO NACHOS

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2-4 medium sized sweet potatoes (depending on group size)

1-2 corn on the cob sliced

1 green onion bunch

1 bunch of cilantro

1 cup black beans

2 tbs olive oil (I use grapeseed)

1 cup guacamole

pico de gallo

2 cups shredded cheddar (I use vegan cheddar)

1 tsp chili powder

course salt and ground pepper ( I use Celtic sea salt)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. Cut each sweet potato lengthwise into wedges
  3. On a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toss sweet potatoes with oil, chili powder, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper until coated
  4. Arrange wedges cut side down – roast potatoes`until browned and tender – 15-20 minutes
  5. Lay the wedges on a baking sheet and pile them high with cheese, beans and corn (I had the corn cook in the oven before starting this recipe. 325 for 20 minutes or so)
  6. Transfer the baking dish back into the oven and bake for a few minutes until the cheese is melted
  7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and top the sweet potatoes with scallions, cilantro, guacamole and pico de gallo
  8. Serve immediately and Enjoy!

58 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY

-C

Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express

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PINEAPPLES // have improved immune function and reduce inflammation

The immune system protects our bodies against diseases, fights off harmful microorganisms and repairs damage.

Test tube studies have shown that bromelain strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation.

Animal studies have also shown that bromelain may reduce the severity of inflammation, stimulate immune responses and have beneficial effects in asthma and allergic airway diseases.

Human studies have shown that intake of pineapple or a bromelain supplement, may shorten the duration of sinus infections, stimulate immune responses, prevent the formation of blood clots and reduce inflammation.


Last week I discussed a way to boost your immune system; passion fruit. This Monday’s ingredient gives me even more excitement…turns out pineapple not only can strengthen your immune system but also reduce inflammation. I will be honest, I never really obsessed over pineapples because I always chose the fruits rich in antioxidants first (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries) because I felt they offered me more benefit. Someone who gets recurring sinus infections and has a crappy immune system, I really should have been incorporating pineapples into my diet more frequently.

Over the last few years I have been avoiding antibiotics at all costs. I used to get sinus infections quarterly and my ENT handed out antibiotics and a steroid shot like candy! I trusted his judgement but after being on 4-6 antibiotics a year, I started to wonder what they were doing to my body…there is no way it’s good that someone be on them this often. After some research I found out that just one round of antibiotics can alter your good gut bacteria for up to one year. (Gut to brain health is a fairly new topic in the medical world but it truly is something to read up on…)

I started treating my sinus infections naturally and haven’t needed an antibiotic since. I truly was dependent on them because of the blinding pain the sinus infections caused but I just needed to be patient vs needing that quick fix. I now use a Neti-pot every morning, eat foods that aid in inflammation and load up on H20. It may take a little longer to get rid of them but it turns out I am able to get rid of them without medication. I even get them much less than I used to.

If it wasn’t for my EDS, I never would have started researching these fun food facts. Food truly can be medicinal and I can thank my mother for mentioning the bromelain that is in pineapples and how helpful it can be. For my next sinus infection I will definitely be loading up on pineapple!

Her fun fact inspired this delicious dish. I made it for breakfast but it can be made for any meal or snack. Enjoy!

Pineapple Express Yogurt Bowl

2 cups vanilla yogurt

1 passion fruit

1/2 cup pineapples

1/2 cup raspberries

3/4 cup granola

3 tablespoons chia seeds

  1. Combine all above ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Enjoy!

 

-C