Monday, January 30, 2012

Almond Curry Sauce

This is a deliciously versatile Thai-inspired sauce that's delicious drizzled over red cabbage, over turkey for a flavorful salad, or simmered with beef for a delicious treat.

Almond Curry Sauce
2 tablespoons Almond Butter (or Peanut Butter)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon chili-garlic paste
1 teaspoon organic, wheat-free, reduced sodium tamari sauce (or coconut aminos)
2 tablespoons coconut milk
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunny Sweet Potato, Kale and Sausage Soup

Inspiration comes in many forms.

This week, I was privileged to attend one of Steve Ottersberg's cooking classes at Namaste Health Center in Durango, Colorado. His love of chemistry, food, humor and teaching mingled together to make a perfectly entertaining evening.

I was so inspired by his knowledge of food interactions and benefits that I created this recipe from tidbits I learned in class. This soup is surprisingly bright, yet filling. . .warm and complex with a hint of a sunny tartness. Enjoy!

Sunny Sweet Potato, Kale and Sausage Soup
12 oz. ground Italian sausage
2 c. sweet potato puree (from about 2 pounds sweet potatoes)
4 c. homemade smoked turkey stock (regular chicken broth will do)
2/3 c. coconut milk
1/2 lemon
2 T. olive or coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. turmeric
1 t. black mustard seed
4 c. chopped kale
1/2 t. salt, or to taste
1/2 t. pepper, or to taste

Cook sausage in pan until crumbly and browned. Set aside onto towels to absorb excess oils.

Peel and cut sweet potatoes into large chunks. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until tender. (or roast unpeeled potatoes in oven for 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees and scrape pulp from skins.). Puree in food processor once cooled a bit. Add sweet potato puree to large soup pot with stock, coconut milk, sausage and juice of half a lemon.

In pan, saute onion, turmeric and black mustard seed in oil until onion is translucent. Saute garlic the last 30 seconds. Stir pan contents into soup pot. Add chopped kale, salt and pepper, and simmer for 15 more minutes.

Enjoy in front of a warm fire.

Did you know: It's best to eat kale with acidic foods (lemons or tomatoes) in order to help break down its oxalic acid and make it more digestable? Cooking can also break down this acid.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing

Since eating a dairy-free diet four years ago, I've never found a commercial dairy-free ranch dressing I have cared for. This recipe brought back Ranch Dressing into my life, and I'm grateful for CrossFit Santa Clara Nutrition's web page for providing this recipe.

Now, go make yourself a big bowl of greens and enjoy.

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing
1 cup “Omega-3 Mayonnaise” from recipe below
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. It is better if refrigerated for one hour before serving but this step is not necessary. It should be noted that this dressing tastes just like regular dressing, with no coconut taste at all. It is also great as a dip for raw veggies.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Gluten-Free Letter to the Editor

The Durango Herald published my letter to the editor in yesterday's Sunday paper. Hurrah! Let's use our voices to share the benefits of healthy eating!

Avoid glutens for a healthy, satisfying life

Thank you for publishing many 2011 articles that support gluten-free living. As a person with celiac disease and a mother of two young celiac boys, I feel fortunate that Durango has many wise and passionate naturopaths, doctors, support groups, bakeries and health food stores that make healthy, gluten-free living easier.

It is unfortunate, though, that the Herald has published many articles that inaccurately describe gluten-free diets and effects of gluten: On March 9, “Gluten-free has gone big time,” said “gluten is not inherently bad to eat ... it can be a challenge to eat a nutritionally sound diet without gluten.” On Oct. 11, a story mentions gluten-free eating is a “faddish thing ... gluten has been associated with a host of diseases over the last few decades, but it may be tied to only one – celiac disease.” a Dec. 27 article says “only a tiny fraction of Americans suffer sensitivities to this wheat protein.”

There are many studies linking gluten with related digestive, immunological and neurological health issues. Some reputable sites that clearly contain this information are:, and

In those one in 133 with celiac disease, gluten causes an autoimmune reaction and an increase in autoimmune disease. Only half of gluten-sensitive or intolerant people display the traditional symptoms of a “bad gut.” In the others, gluten intolerance and sensitivity can manifest as chronic illnesses.

For the 12 percent of us who are gluten-sensitive, gluten is an inflammatory food. Inflammation (and subsequent malabsorption) has been linked to most chronic illnesses: heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, MS, epilepsy, asthma, ADD/ADHD, lupus, arthritis, depression and others.

Gluten-free eating is not just a fad. It’s here to stay for many of us.

As you ponder New Year’s resolutions, consider eating gluten-free for a while. You may be surprised how your digestion, energy, allergies, arthritis, and/or moods improve in only a few days.

Eat more local, organic and whole foods. Eat intelligently to reduce inflammation by reducing flours and sugars. Recognize what foods cause your body harm, and do your best to avoid them for a healthy, satisfying life.

Cindy Atchison

Monday, January 2, 2012

Homemade Turkey Stock

Happy New Year!
It's good to get back to basics after a wonderfully over-indulgent holiday season. There's no better way to begin healthy cooking in the New Year than with a big stock pot full of simmering turkey stock. This is the base for countless sauces, soups, stews, or just a wholesome, healthy cup of warmth.

I freeze this stock in 2- and 4-cup Ziplock freezer bags for use later. Just fill bags, lat flat on a cookie sheet, and freeze. Once frozen, you can literally "file" them in your freezer.

Homemade Turkey Stock
1 turkey carcass
3 carrots, roughly chopped
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped with skin left on
2 garlic cloves, crushed
12 peppercorns
6 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
handful of fresh herbs -- parsley, thyme, sage, or your favorite(s)
1 t. salt

Place all ingredients in a 12-quart stock pot.
Fill with cool water, about an inch or two from the rim. Place on medium-low heat and slowly bring pot to a simmer. (Slow heating the cool water brings out the most flavors from the stock ingredients.) Simmer for 2-3 hours.

Strain stock through a colander lined with cheesecloth, and let cool. If you have the luxury of leaving the stock outside on a cold night, it is easy to skim the excess fat off the surface in the morning.

Use within a few days or package into 2- or 4-cup Ziplock freezer bags.