Eat Happy, Be Healthy!
Homemade Applesauce with a Special Twist
Most people peel their apples when making applesauce to keep the texture nice and smooth. But in the process they are discarding the most nutritious part! The apple peel is rich in gut loving and anti-inflammatory polyphenols including well known quercetin. Quercetin is most well known for inhibiting the production and release of histamine, thereby reducing the severity of seasonal allergies and other histamine related symptoms.
The peel is also an excellent source of pectin a soluble fiber which can soothe the GI tract and can be especially helpful when struggling with diarrhea. Pectin is also fermented by good gut microbes and therefore helps support a healthy and diverse gut microbiome.
Since we are keeping the peel on for this applesauce, it becomes increasingly important to choose ORGANIC apples, as conventional apples are highly sprayed with pesticides. And to help improve texture of applesauce, I recommend grating the apple peels instead of just coarsely chopping the apples. Although this is an extra step, it allows the apple peel to easily dissolve during the cooking process, leaving the texture more smooth. With the addition of the skin, and the increase in polyphenols and pectin, the applesauce is pinker in color and is thicker in texture.
However, apples are rich in fructose and sorbitol, two kinds of sugars that are considered FODMAPs. If you don't tolerate either of these well, then applesauce (and apples) may trigger uncomfortable digestive symptoms until the underlying cause is addressed, such as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), which can lead to fructose malabsorption. Some people unfortunately, struggle with hereditary fructose intolerance, and will have to limit fructose entirely to avoid uncomfortable symptoms.
Spices (fresh ginger root, cinnamon, vanilla, etc)
Sweetener of choice (optional) - depending on the type of apple you may need more of less
Wash your apples and grate the peels. Cut out the core and dice up the remaining apple flesh. Add the grated peels, apple bits, water, lemon juice, and your choice of spices to a large pot, cover, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the chunks. Remove lid, and mash with a potato masher or whisk, stir in salt, and optional sweetener to taste. You may continue to simmer uncovered for a couple of minutes to evaporate excess water if needed until desired texture is achieved. Transfer to a sealable glass jar and enjoy. I love it with Nancy’s whole milk yogurt or cottage cheese.
Show me your applesauce making skills!!
It’s pouring sideways rain here in Bellingham, the perfect weather for a light pumpkin soup. I have been yearning for the Fall and all the bits of cozy that comes with it. Although I love salads, soups are a wonderful way to eat your veggies while also supporting digestion. Raw veggies are one of the hardest foods to digest, especially if you are not taking the time to chew them well. Therefore, soups can be an excellent meal for anyone struggling to optimally digest their foods. Soups are much easier for the stomach to breakdown because the ingredients are soft and tender. This is especially true if you make a pureed soup like this pumpkin soup. Usually, the stomach churns our food with stomach acid to make a liquidy soup called chyme. However, when the food is already pureed, the stomach has little work to do. Therefore, soups are a wonderful meal for anyone who has increased healing needs or has digestive concerns because the nutrients are much easier absorbed.
For this recipe I used a pie pumpkin (or otherwise known as sugar pie pumpkin), but you can choose whatever winter squash you have on hand. I also used homemade bone broth, rich in flavor and nutrition. I do not skim the fat because the fat provides flavor and increases the absorption of the beta-carotene in the pumpkin flesh. If you are using store bought bone broth (Bonafide is a great option) it is fat free, and therefore I would suggest adding organic heavy cream or full fat coconut milk to your liking.
Bone broth is an excellent choice to increase the protein content of otherwise a low protein meal. Rich in collagen, bone broth helps support the healing and repair of connective tissues (think, gut lining, bone, tendons, hair, skin, nails). Along with ample amounts of prebiotic fiber rich onions and garlic this pureed soup also supports the growth of good gut bacteria. If you want, you can even roast the pumpkin seeds for little salty and nutritious snack. Simply preheat the oven to 400 degrees, rinse the seeds under water to remove excess pumpkin fibers, and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spray with extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and your choice of spices. Roast for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Voila, now you have a nourishing soup and a tasty snack!
Simple Gingered Pumpkin Soup
1 small pie pumpkin (got mine at TJs)
1 large yellow onion
3-4 cloves garlic
3 inches ginger root
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups homemade bone broth (see note above if using store bought)
2-3 T honey
2 T apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp sea salt (adjust as needed)
Fresh ground pepper
Pinch chili flakes
Quarter the pumpkin, scoop out seeds (roast if desired), and place into a pot filled with some water and a steamer basket. Steam, covered, over medium heat for about 15-20min or until tender.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion, garlic, and ginger. In a soup pot add a glug of extra virgin olive oil and sauté the chopped veggies over medium low until glassy and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the steamed pumpkin flesh (leave skin behind), and add the bone broth. Cover and cook over medium low for another 10 minutes.
Once ready, using an immersion blender, puree the soup to your liking. Season with honey, vinegar, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Adjust seasonings to your liking.
Note: If you want to keep the recipe vegetarian, simply use vegetable broth (may need to adjust salt down because most store bought vegetable broths are pre-salted), and add coconut milk or heavy cream for creaminess and flavor.
Lemon Curry Four Bean Salad
This refreshing take on a bean salad is a perfect addition to your summer meals. Rich in protein and fiber, it will keep you full and satisfied. Plus, the prebiotic fibers will keep your gut bugs humming with joy. Unfortunately, individuals with SIBO/IBS may NOT tolerate this recipe well due to the high prebiotic content. This bean salad keeps well, and improves in flavor the longer it sits. If you cannot tolerate onion, add in diced bell pepper or cucumber for the crunch factor. Plus, you can easily replace the clove of garlic with a tsp of finely chopped fresh oregano for spice, or simply omit.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon (plus more lemon juice prior to serving)
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon yellow curry powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
Fresh ground pepper
½ large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 ½ cups frozen green beans, thawed
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can great northern beans
Generous handful finely chopped cilantro/basil/parsley
In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice & zest, curry powder, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper, until the honey and salt are dissolved. Stir in the chopped onion and garlic and allow to marinate in dressing.
Meanwhile, measure out about 1 ½ cup of frozen green beans and briefly thaw in microwave. Alternatively, leave out at room temp until thawed. Cut the green beans into smaller pieces using kitchen shears. Transfer to bowl. Drain and rinse the canned beans, and transfer to the bowl. Mix all the ingredients together, sprinkle in the chopped fresh herb of choice, and stir until combined. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
When ready to serve, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over each serving and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy my creative, flavorful, and nutrient dense approach to whole foods cooking. All recipes are gluten free.