Come and have some tea!

We love this time of year at Wellspring Holistic Center because it means we are able to make the entrance into our building even more inviting by adding beautiful flowers!  This year we even put out a bench so that you can come and just visit with us and have a cup of tea, which we also love at Wellspring!

frontIn a few months the Cannas will be blooming out front and the Impatiens will have taken over!  Check out the cool rain barrel as well.  No more need to run inside to fill the watering can – it’s all right here.

Rain barrelOur rain barrel, “Storm Surge”  was painted by Ash Bowman and MingLi Goldsten and was part of the  “Retain the Rain” event sponsored by the Monroe County Conservation District.  The uniquely decorated barrels were installed at various locations throughout Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg.  If you would like to take a self-guided tour of the rain barrels, visit http://www.mcconservation.org/default.asp?contentID=13 for project information, a general map, and a link to a detail Google map of the rain barrels.

No worries if you can’t come until the evening, the entrance is just as inviting at night thanks to our client Betsie! The little flower lights add just the right touch!

nightWe hope to see you soon!

Anita and Louise

Kitchen Experiments – Lentils with Spinach and Shitake Mushrooms

I really like lentils – red, black or green – soup, stew, loaf – almost anyway you cook them, I love them!  Once again this recipe came out of the necessity of finding something to eat for dinner that was different but easy and definitely delicious.  I had made something similar to this previously before we started the Alcat diet, so I will offer some changes at the end that you can try at home.

My first step in this recipe was to cook the lentils.  I sautéed my scallions and celery first in some olive oil and then added the black lentils.  I always like to sauté them together for just a minute before adding the water.  I added only enough water to cover the lentils because I did not want a lot of extra broth since this was not a soup recipe.  My mom always added oregano and a bay leaf when she cooked her lentil soup, so of course I always do the same. I cooked the lentils until almost all of the water was absorbed – about 30-40 minutes.

While the lentils continued to cook, I took my cast iron skillet and added olive oil and shiitake mushrooms and cooked them for several minutes until the mushrooms were soft.  I added the spinach and turned off the heat with a lid on to wilt the spinach and wait for the lentils to be cooked.

In a separate skillet, I sautéed potatoes until brown and crispy on all sides.

When the lentils were cooked, I added them to the cast iron skillet with the mushrooms and spinach.  I tossed it all together until it was well mixed.

lentilsI cannot eat potatoes, but my husband can.  When I made this recipe before, I would toss the potatoes right into the skillet as well and mix it all together and top it would some goat cheese!  Yummy, I can’t wait until I can eat goat cheese again.  This time, I put some potatoes on my husband’s plate and some oat groats on mine and topped them both with the lentil mixture.  It was a very delicious dinner once again! If you have never tried lentils and potatoes together, I encourage you to try them! Good cooking!

Kitchen Experiments – Granola in a Crockpot

I am all about having the right tools in the kitchen to make life easier. When I counsel people on how to improve their diets a common complaint is “I just don’t have time to cook good meals!” My first response to this is: “what kind of tools do you have in your kitchen?” This makes all the difference in the world! I do not think that I could cook without my pressure cooker, rice cooker and crock pot. OK, I could, but it would take me a lot longer.

A few years ago I really wanted to use my crock pot more so I bought several cookbooks. Who knew you could make so many things using a crock pot. I was thinking soups, stews, meats, but granola?  I never would have thought!  Well, if you think that you do not have time to make homemade granola because you don’t have time to stand around the kitchen waiting to turn the granola every few minutes so it won’t burn – pull out your crock pot and give this a try!

It was so easy.  If you have a favorite granola recipe or something sitting on the back burner waiting for you to have time, pull it out and let’s get cooking!  Basically what I did was put my dry ingredients in a large bowl.  I used gluten-free oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut, black currants, and maple sugar.  The recipe also called for milk powder but since I can’t have milk products yet, I used brown rice protein powder instead to give it an extra boost.  The next step was to turn the crock pot on high and melt/heat the liquids for 30 minutes.  I did not have that much time so I decided to heat the liquids on the stove in a small pot.  I used agave syrup and 1/2 cup of oil, instead of 1 cup and used 1/2 cup of applesauce as well. Once it was heated through, I poured the liquids over the dry and mixed it until everything was coated.

granola

I did preheat the crock pot while I was preparing the ingredients.  I had it on high for maybe 15 minutes.  It seemed pretty hot when I added the oat mixture.  Here comes the easy part.  I cooked it on high for 1 1/2 hours with the lid off, stirring once every 30 minutes.  After the hour and a half, I turned the crock pot to low, placed the lid on it, and left it for 3 hours.  The recipe had said 4 hours but when I came home after 3, it seemed pretty well cooked.  I removed the lid for another 1/2 hour to cook off some of the moisture and then it was done!

cooked granolaI allowed it to cool and then placed it in an airtight container.  The next morning I had delicious granola with oat milk for breakfast!  Boy, that was easy!

Spring Time Recipes for the Wood Element

Spring is a time of growth, when the shoots that have been sleeping all winter, begin to awaken. In order for those shoots to survive, they must have within them the ability to bend and stay supple. Any rigidity in the plant will cause the new growth to break off and die. The wood element gives us the flexibility in life to grow, but if we hold on too tightly and become rigid, nothing happens. The liver and the gallbladder are the organs associated with the wood element. We must feed them the right food in order for them to stay in balance. In winter, our food was heavy and warm, in spring we begin to lighten up, and may even fast on occasion to get rid of the excess baggage of winter.

The color of wood is green as I mentioned earlier, the odor is rancid, the sound is shouting, the emotion is anger and the taste or flavor is sour. You may notice in spring, the tendency towards irritation in yourself or in others. Choosing the appropriate foods can help to lighten your moods. There still tends to be a chill in the air during this time of year and it is therefore still appropriate to eat mainly cooked foods. The heavy oils and nuts of winter are replaced with spring greens, sprouts and fresh herbs and spices. Quickly sautéing food or lightly steaming is the preferred method of cooking. Below you will find some recipes to help smooth the liver and aid in your personal spring growth.

Grilled Asparagus and Shitake over Pasta

*Depending on the variety, asparagus can be slightly warming in nature, with a bitter and mildly pungent flavor. It can help to reduce phlegm and mucus, which are often side effects of spring allergies. Shitake mushrooms strengthen, detoxify and restore. Another great addition to the diet if prone to allergies. The addition of the vinegar helps to energize liver meridian and aids in digestion.

1 1/2 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2-c. shitake mushrooms
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1/4 c. tamari
1/4 c. parsley
1/4 c. pineapple juice
1 1/2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 pound asparagus spears
4 cups cooked pasta

     Heat oil in non-stick skillet. Add ginger, pepper, and garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook for two minutes. Add vinegar, tamari, parsley, juice and maple syrup. Cook for 5 minutes and remove from heat.  Soak the asparagus in mushroom-vinegar for 5-10 minutes. Grill (or broil) the asparagus for 3 minutes. Place on pasta and top off with sauce.

Hummus

*Everyone has his or her own version of hummus. I like mine with lots of lemon and just a tad of garlic. Lemon is perfect for spring – with its sour flavor and acidic nature – it helps to support liver function. Parsley can also help to support the gallbladder by preventing gallstones.

2 c. chick peas
1-2 Tbs. tahini
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 c. fresh parsley
1/4 c. cooking liquid from beans or water to desired consistency

     Place cooked chickpeas in food processor or blender with tahini, salt, lemon, garlic, and olive oil; blend until smooth. Add cooking liquid from beans or a little water to get desired consistency. It will store well in the refrigerator for at least one week.

Carrot Salad

*This salad is great as a starter to a meal. The carrots help to smooth the liver and the green apple aids in the cleansing of the liver and gallbladder and can help to soften gallstones.

1 clove garlic, minced                                     3 Tbs. minced fresh parsley
1/8 tsp. pepper                                                 3 large carrots, coarsely shredded
1 Tbs. lemon juice                                           2 Tbs. olive oil
1 green apple, chopped                                   1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard to dressing

     Combine dressing ingredients.  Add parsley and carrots. Mix well.

Detox Lemonade

*If you are feeling a little congested from the heavy winter foods, try a simple fast or add this detoxifying lemonade into your diet. Remember to lighten up on your foods at the same time for a more beneficial cleanse.

1 lemon, juiced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp. maple syrup or small amount of stevia
8 oz. water

            Mix above ingredients together and drink. Use as few or as many glasses per day as you want. Recommended dosage: one glass before each meal.