Showing posts with label Color. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Color. Show all posts

Persimmon Tart with Spiced Pecan Crust {Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free}

We are at the midnight hour for a post about Thanksgiving - almost too late, but not quite. Even though time has slipped away from me, I could not pass up an opportunity to slowdown and really contemplate the true meaning of the day.

Gratitude for all aspects of life helps to cultivate health of the body, mind, and spirit. Living from the grateful space of the heart promotes true abundance and positive outlook. Research has proven time and time again that a positive orientation to life is one of the most effective and important keys to robust health. A very inspiring website on the grace of gratefulness is found here.

Discover the gateway to remarkable health with a diet rich in color

(NaturalNews) Consuming a diet rich in naturally colorful foods not only is beautiful but encourages ultimate health balance. Enjoying a variety of each color group provides a powerful defense against disease and environmental stressors. Scientific research has confirmed the importance of consuming a broad spectrum of fruits and vegetables to protect and enhance physical well being. Continue »

An Auspicious Spring Roll

As we launch into this most promising year of the Water Dragon, I thought a festive spring roll recipe was in order. Bright and cheerful with plenty of health enhancing perks. Since we are not quite out of the woods yet with winter, the Chinese New Year is a perfect opportunity to bring more brightness into our days.

The spring rolls are filled with plenty of antioxidant rich vegetables, edible flowers, sprouted tofu, and accompanied by a zesty plum dipping sauce. Plums have an interesting history in Chinese lore. Lao-Tse, the famous Chinese philosopher, was believed to have been born under a plum tree. It is generally agreed upon in China that plums symbolize good fortune. Just what we need to bring in the new year.

Black sesame also shimmies onto the stage providing a nice bit of contrast. In ancient China, it was believed that sesame seeds were the symbol of immortality and a food of the gods. It is no wonder as sesame seeds have enormous health benefits. Black sesame seeds are rich in nutrients such as the E and B group vitamins, minerals like zinc, calcium, magnesium, and especially iron. These tiny seeds also provide lignan fiber, protein, and good fats.

The following recipe is a loose adaptation of "It's Spring! Rolls" which includes nutritional information about edible flowers. I usually tend to shy away from using tofu as I think soy is overused, hard to digest, and can lead to allergies. Having said that, Wildwood now has a line of sprouted tofu which is much more bioavailable and easier on the digestive system. If you would like to skip the baking step for the tofu, Wildwood also offers a line of naturally seasoned products.

Wishing all a colorful, prosperous, and magical New Year!

An Auspicious Spring Roll

Yield: Joyful light lunch for two

*As always, organic ingredients are best for flavor, nutrition, and health.

Marinated Tofu
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sesame oil
3 tablespoons agave nectar
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 package Wildwood brand extra-firm sprouted tofu

Spring Rolls
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, stems removed
A handful of edible flowers in a variety of colors
8 large rice paper spring roll wrappers
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

To prepare tofu:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. While oven is warming, whisk vinegar, sesame oil, agave, garlic, soy sauce, and cayenne in a small baking dish. Set aside. Slice tofu into 3 equal thin slabs. Transfer to baking dish and let marinate for a few minutes on each side. Bake with marinade, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven. Once tofu is cool enough to handle, slice into 1/4 x 2-inch pieces. Transfer to prep mat.

To wrap spring rolls:
Divide ingredients into eight equal portions on a large cutting board or mat. Rinse a single rice paper wrapper with warm water and lay flat on work area. Take one portion of flowers and arrange in the center on the wrapper, leaving 2-inches of space on each side. Follow with carrots, tofu, and spinach leaves. Fold both ends of the wrapper towards center until snug. Next, fold top side of the wrapper inward while tightly rolling into a uniform roll, ending with seam on the bottom, flowers on top. Sprinkle lightly with black sesame seeds. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Good Fortune Plum Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup dried plums, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon raw manuka honey
1/4 cup warm water
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
pinch of Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
1 teaspoon chipolte red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Drain soaked plums and remove pits. In a blender or small food processor, pulse plums, vinegar, honey, water, garlic and salt until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add an additional tablespoon or two of warm water. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in red pepper flakes and sesame oil. Divide mixture between two dipping sauce bowls and serve with four spring rolls each. Enjoy throughly with a delightful friend.

"To win a man's heart, she must first learn how to cook a good pot of soup."
-Cantonese Proverb

Flourish & Play: Delight in Beautifully Nutritious Edible Flowers this Spring

As we bound into spring, rejuvenate your health and palate with gorgeous edible flowers. The petals of these captivating plants host a variety of important nutrients while providing a burst of color and contrast to the diet. Growing edible flowers need not be saved for warm weather; create a lovely indoor garden in a sunlit spot beside a window and enjoy the many benefits of graceful edible blossoms during any season.

According to Marci Degman of Garden Guides:

Ancient Greek, Roman, and Chinese herbalists recorded medicinal and culinary uses for flowers. Nearly every early civilization recognized calendula, whose petals were served as food and piled on alters. To preserve violets, medieval monks would make a sweet syrup from the petals. The Victorians, who associated edible flowers with elegance, candied the flowers of violet and borage to decorate cakes and desserts.

Several varieties of flowers are known to support emotional well-being along with health. Valerian flower helps to heal anxiety and insomnia as well as migraines and tension headaches. Rose water helps liver and digestive function while cooling anger. Chamomile calms stress and boosts immunity. Begonias supports liver health and eliminates toxins from the body. Chrysanthemums, which have a long history of use in Asia, are regarded as an excellent tonic for overcoming colds and fevers.

Ethnobotanist Dr Jim Duke recommends the following flowers for consumption:

Violets add a fresh, grass-like flavor to desserts and garnishes. These delicate flowers supply rutin which is believed to strengthen capillary structure.

Borage can be used as a tea or in salads and has a subtle cucumber taste. This beautiful blue beauty is useful in balancing the hormones and helps to combat colds and coughs.

Lavender calms the nervous system and can be found in Herb de Provence spice blend which lends a savory and complex flavor to soup and potatoes.

Roses are rich in antioxidants that help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. These classic flowers come in a variety of colors; each with its own distinct bioactive pigments with white having the least.

Nasturtiums, lemon gem marigold, and calendula petals provide a bright contrast in salads, lending an earthy, peppery flavor. The orange pigment contains the important anti-cancer compound lycopene while yellow varieties are rich in vision protecting lutein.

Edible flowers impart colorful inspiration for a variety of culinary creations. Sweet flowers can be combined with tea or frozen into ice cubes. Ground dried petals can be mixed into healthy cookie dough or pancake batter for a unique presentation. Wrap an assortment of edible flowers along with mint leaves, shredded purple cabbage and carrot in rice paper spring rolls to create a striking rainbow of color and nutrition. For an alluring salad, combine mache greens (lamb's ear lettuce), toasted pecans, organic and raw crumbled gorgonzola along with a selection of blossoms. Float chrysanthemum petals in consommé with soba noodles, tofu, and braised greens for a Japanese classic winter noodle soup.

Growing your own edible flowers can be an enjoyable indoor or outdoor project. Here are a few tips:

Select compact, non-trailing varieties of flowers such as Copper Sunset nasturtiums, calendulas, pansies, violets, and miniature roses

Use only organic seeds and compost rich soil while avoiding commercial flower fertilizers which are not designed to be consumed.

Do not use flower plants from a nursery as these are usually laden with chemicals and fungicides.

Harvest flowers in the early, cool part of the day and only eat the petals as other parts can be poisonous or extremely bitter.

Remember to always check before consuming a flower to make sure it is safe to eat:

Brighten your days with delightful and nourishing edible flowers. These lovely additions to the diet provide a bounty of beauty and healthy well-being.

Sources for this article:

"The History of Edible Flowers," Marci Degman, Garden Guides. Retrieved on December 11, 2010 from,

"Health Benefits of Edible Flowers," July 23, 2010, Carolin K., Wellspere, Health knowledge made personal. Retrieved on December 13, 2010 from,

"Edible Flowers- A List of Flowers You Can Eat & Their Health Benefits," Steve Graham, February 24, 2010, Bright Hub. Retrieved on December 13, 2010 from,

"Chase away the winter blues with an indoor window garden," Marion Owen, Plant Tea Inc. Retrieved on December 13, 2010 from,

"Growing Edible and Cut Flowers in the Home Garden," June 23, 2010, Chris, Gardening Channel. Retrieved on December 13, 2010 from,

"Vegetarian Table: Japan", 1998, Victoria Wise, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, pp 114