You need to make these.

squash squaresAwesome.  These are just lovely, delicious treats that get squash into your family in a new way.  Inspired by my friend Jenna’s recipe over at Whole-istic Living, these little squares unexpectedly made my day.

I had leftover baked squash in the fridge and a whole bunch of nuts.  I scoured my recipe books, and didn’t find anything good.  Without internet access for the morning (what horror!) I was unable to look up a recipe online, yet I remembered Jenna’s so I tried to recreate it from memory.  Here’s what I ended up with and loved.

They’re sweet, but not too much.  They don’t pretend to be a brownie or kitchen sink bar.  They are what they are: maple-syrup sweetened buttery squash sitting nicely on a rich pecan crust and topped with crispy flaked coconut.  Rich and delicious as a stand alone healthy snack full of a balance of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, protein, and trace vitamins and minerals.

These were a hit in my house.  My kids don’t usually eat squash or nuts, yet my 4 year old loved the top, and my 2 year old loved the nut crust.  Together it makes a great after-school snack, and they’re also firm enough to withstand lunch-box travel.

Perhaps the best part of this is that it uses only 1 piece of kitchen equipment!  Hurrah for easy cleanup!

Enjoy!

Crust

2 cups pecans

1 pastured egg

1 tbsp organic butter

pinch of salt

Squash Filling

4 cups cooked/skinned butter nut squash

2 pastured eggs

1/2 cup of real maple syrup (you can substitute raw honey if you prefer)

4 tbsp pasture butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 pinch of cloves

pinch of salt

For the crust:  Put nuts in a food processor and grind until smooth.  Add in the egg & salt and grind some more.   With your clean fingers, spread the butter around an 9 x13 pyrex baking dish until it’s well covered.   Then spread the pecan mixture out evenly over the butter.

For the filling: Put all of the squash into your food processor.  I didn’t bother to clean mine after the pecans, as I figured a few stray pecan bits in the filling would be just fine.  Once the squash is pureed, add in the eggs, syrup, salt, cinnamon & cloves.  Mix until blended.   Spread evenly over the top of the pecan crust, and sprinkle unsweetened coconut flakes over the whole thing.  Bake at 3:50 for an hour.  Baking this low and slow will allow the squash to firm-up without burning the crust or coconut.

Let cool and slice into bars.  These keep very well in the fridge.

Want more recipes and ideas on how to get healthy foods into your life?  Check out the great deal I’m offering only through Friday!

 

 

 

 

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Ta Da!

Real Food Transformation ImageHave you ever worked hard on a project, focused time energy and funds to something that you truly believed in?  If so, then hopefully you’re also familiar with that giant sigh of relief when it’s done.

That’s where I’m at folks, I’ve completed my Real Food Transformation eCourse and it’s already changing the way people look at food.  Through videos, documents for you to print and use, journal assignments, and daily emails, this course will help you change the way you look at food and your body.  This course will walk you at your own pace, step-by-step through changing your diet and changing your life.

I’m in that lovely place of having a finished product, wanting to share it with the world so badly that I’m nearly giving it away.  If you take this course with me one-on-one, you’ll pay over $400.  However, I’m offering the eCourse at the incredibly discounted rate of $70.   That’s right, just $70 until October 31 when the price will go up to the regular (and still low) price of $95.

Share this with your friends and family.  This is an awesome way for anyone who’s interested in nutrition to get started on healthy eating.   Join me for the ride!

 

 

 

Bread, homemade and delicious

IMG_1389This is nice, sitting down in the quiet morning to write.  In the oven is a loaf of bread, another on the counter waiting to go in which will be followed by a quiche to make the most of such a hot oven and the energy required to heat it.   This tea is in hand as I fight the tail-end of a spring cold.  I quickly fly through emails, organize, and relax.  I haven’t done this in a while, but the impetus is 2-fold.  First, a new puppy which has come into our lives and wakes even earlier than the kids, and an indulgent new habit of baking bread.

But wait, why am I baking bread?  Aren’t all carbohydrates bad?  Isn’t that what everyone from Dr. Oz to the Paleo craze is telling us?!  Well, the answer is complex, so let me help clarify.

Carbohydrates are not bad, rather they’re a necessary source of energy.  In fact, a body fed absolutely zero carbohydrates will sooner or later go into starvation mode and feed on stored fat and muscle for energy.  While certain degrees of this can be helpful for weight loss and other issues such as epilepsy, a long-term burning of fat and muscle is not recommended nor healthy for most of the population.

Carbohydrates are found in fruits and vegetables in addition to grains.  Clients of mine who are on the most strict of regimens due to digestive disorders consume lots and lots of high-carbohydrate vegetables such as butternut squash to maintain energy levels, without which they may have a hard time.   I do suggest that fruits and vegetables are the main source of carbohydrates in one’s diet, but that does not mean there isn’t a place for grains.

Let’s simplify:  Some people can tolerate grains.  Some people can tolerate gluten.  Some people can tolerate more than others.  Not everyone can tolerate grains or gluten in any amount. Uh oh… maybe that’s not as clear-cut as I’d hoped!  This is because the issues is complex and every person and their digestive systems are different.   Are you unsure if you’re able to tolerate grains or gluten?  Contact me and I’ll help you find out.

What if you know you functionIMG_1398 fine on grains and gluten, have no digestive troubles, and/or you simply don’t want to or can’t give it up grains entirely?    Here are some basic guidelines.   I talk about everything on a spectrum, with one end being the pie-in-the-sky goal which isn’t always attainable, and the other end is the I’d-rather-starve-than-eat-that quality.   For bread, here’s what the priorities would be:

  1. Always organic flour (no GMO wheat, thank you very much)
  2. True sourdough or sprouted grains, which means no yeast in the ingredients.
  3. Whole wheat, at least partially
  4. Fresh from the bakery section, not on the middle aisles of the grocery store
  5. Should have three ingredients only:  wheat, salt, water.
  6. Homemade is the best way to ensure all of the above!

Now, I realize it can be hard to hit all of these marks.  Here’s a tip: if I’m not making it at home, I always ensure I get the top two on my list, and the rest tend to happen automatically.

Why sourdough or sprouted grains, you ask?  All grains contain phytates or phytic acid, which is the plant’s defense against consumption.  This makes it hard for humans and our one measly stomach to break down (cows have 4 sections in their stomach to break down grains!).  In addition, phytic acid is a nutrient inhibitor so when we don’t break down the phytic acid, it prevents other nutrients from being absorbed by the body.   If we’re going to be eating grains, then we definitely want to be reaping the nutrients from the bread and also from the other foods we’re consuming along side it, so I always recommend either true sourdough bread or sprouted grain bread, both process break down the phytic acid and renders the final product more digestible anIMG_1385d nutritious.  This is true for ALL grains including those in processed foods such as crackers and goldfish, so it’s worth paying attention to how-much grains is going into you or your family.

As a rule of thumb in my house, we aim to eat grains no more than 1x per day.  This gives our digestive tracts a break and also ensures we focus our meals on more nutrient dense foods.   While this can be challenging at times, a little planning goes a long way, as do leftovers from dinner.   These days, that one grain is a thick slice of homemade bread slathered with butter.

Chocolate Class, May 18!

This is the class you’ve been waiting for!  You’ll learn healthy ways to make one of the world’s most cherished foods.  All of the chocolate will be sugar free- and no artificial sweeteners either.chocolate

We’ll make both dark and white chocolate, and have lots of fun and samples along the way.   This will be a hands-on class so you can experience how easily healthy treats can be made.

As usual, this class will have nutritional information discussions so you can feel good about what you’re eating and help spread the word of good nutrition.

Class will be held a private residence in Westwood, MA and space is limited.  Please sign up by paying in advance here.  After sign-up, the address will be sent to you.

May 18, 2:30- 4:30 pm.

Cost: $45 in advance, $50 at the door

Class will be taught by Gena Mavuli a Traditional Foods Teacher and Nutrition Consultant serving the Boston area. Gena believes in fabulous real food to nourish the body, mind and soul, while she supports people on their journey to complete health.
http://www.holisticnutritionbasics.com

NOFA cooking series in April!

This is exciting!  I’m teaching four classes in April in partnership with NOFA, the Northern Organic Farming Association, at a discounted rate!    This is your chance to get in on my classes and see what I’m all about.    And if you’ve missed my culturing Dairy class last weekend, here’s your chance to attend!

http://www.nofamass.org/events#.UxTY2V7Qq5c

Mango Mango!

Some days, my kids won’t eat.  Not often, but sometimes.  And while they may not want meals, they do want “snacks”.  In our household, snacks do not mean packaged niblets of red-blue-green-dyes shaped like animals, or packaged rancid-oil crackers.  No, “snacks” in our house include real food: homemade soaked-flour carrot cake, homemade almond flour cookies, and a favorite: homemade ice cream!

This week, the ice cream was dairy free.  Coconut milk is so good for us, and I was almost out of raw milk.  Just three ingredients: frozen organic mango, about a cup and a half, a can of organic coconut milk, and raw local honey to taste, about 1/4 cup  or less in our house.  Pure mango & honey together, then put all three ingredients in an ice cream maker.  I also add a pinch or two of sea salt for a little extra something.

Just yesterday, my toddler ate a big helping of this mixed with yogurt for lunch and I was thrilled.  I don’t know who loves summer more, me or them.