Monday, May 24, 2010

Carrot Apple Quinoa Salad

In search for something light and easy to prepare for dinner tonight, I looked toward my huge jar of Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) sitting on the shelf. Quinoa is a nutritional athlete. Considered a "superfood" because it is one of the best vegetable sources of protein available, in fact, it is a complete protein! It has all the essential amino acids needed for a healthy body. A known prebiotic, it stimulates the growth of good bacteria in our guts, and for those who are watching gluten, Quinoa is gluten-free! One way to add it to your diet is to substitute it for traditional rice. If you are looking for a quick dinner but one that is nutrient-dense, try this salad!

Carrot Apple Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 pat of butter
1 large carrot, diced
1 apple, diced
1/2 cup Brazil nuts, chopped (or any other nut)
1/4 parsley, chopped
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/4 olive oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
pepper and salt to taste (optional)

Place large stock pot on stove bring water and butter to boil. Upon boiling, lower heat and stir-in quinoa. Place lid on pot and let sit for 8-10 minutes till water is absorbed. Fluff with fork and place in a large serving bowl.

Add diced carrot, apple, nuts, and parsley to the salad. Toss.

In a small bowl mix lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and pepper and salt. Pour over the quinoa. Mix well.

That's it! Now you have a very easy, super nutritious and light dinner for any day of the week. This recipe is one you can throw together quickly and take with you to any potluck. Feel great, knowing that you gave your body a load of iron, magnesium, folate, zinc, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine and much more: the raw materials needed to maintain health and feel great!

Eat, drink and Be Happy,
From My DandelionHeart to Yours!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fragrant Orange Swordfish

Tonight, I am sad. In my opening profile box you will see that it says "starting down the real food path" and that inevitably means mistakes along the way. I was at Whole Foods yesterday and decided to buy swordfish. In trying to up my omega-3 consumption and knowing that swordfish is loaded with vitamin B12, I thought it would make a great substitute for a chicken recipe I have. So today, I prepped and marinated the fish for 3 hours, took my pictures to blog it and in writing my storyline, read of the dangers of eating SWORDFISH!
What? Swordfish....Oh NOW, I find out! How incredibly sad it is that we have to worry about our health from the very oceans that should bring us health and vitality. The readings stated that the primary source of methylmercury in fish is industrial pollution. Snow, rain, and water runoff goes into our streams, oceans, rivers and lakes and eventually finds its way into our oceans. It is a fact that the weekly amount of industrial chemicals and runoff from cities dumped into our waterways amounts to more than the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill of 1989. EVERY WEEK! Even now, the Gulf of Mexico spill is polluting our oceans more than we have ever imagined possible. We should all be weeping at the thought of thousands of animals dying, our future ability to feed ourselves and our families diminishing before our eyes and for our coastline under such severe environmental attack. How little did I know, that tonight I would be writing about our ocean's pollution and not a delicious swordfish recipe. Forgive me for my sadness and ranting but my heart feels the profound loss that we face due to our own industrial and polluting ways.

Here is my recipe and original post. I would no longer advise to make it. But I did not want to pass up such beautiful food pictures.

Original Post:
In trying to incorporate more fish in my diet for the benefit of gaining more Omega-3's, I took a delicious chicken recipe and substituted swordfish fillets. It came out gorgeous and amazingly good! This is one recipe you could serve to company and everyone will love it!

Fragrant Orange Swordfish

4 pieces Swordfish
3 organic oranges (will use the zest and juices)
1/4 cup honey
2 TB cilantro, finely chopped
3 TB soy sauce
2 TB olive oil
2 TB garlic, minced
1 tsp of cornstarch
pinch of turmeric (optional)

Place the swordfish in a 9X9 pan.
Take a peeler or zester and scrape off the zest of all three oranges. Chop the zest finely and place in a bowl. Add the squeezed juice of the oranges, honey, soy sauce, cilantro, olive oil and garlic, mix well. Pour over the swordfish and let marinate from 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place swordfish in oven for 25 minutes.

Use tongs to remove the fish to a platter. Pour the juices through a strainer. Add a tsp of cornstarch and a pinch of turmeric to the sauce. stir and let thicken for 10 minutes.
Pour sauce over the fish and serve. I like to place it on top of rice with a side of steamed green beans!

This dish is filled with health boosting nutrients. Swordfish is a rich source of blood-building Vitamin B12 and niacin. It is low-fat supplier of Vitamin B6 and Omega-3's. Enjoy every minute of it!

So much for the original idea, and just in case you were wondering....we ate the swordfish and allowed our systems to take the hit. I couldn't bring myself to throw it out, along with all the work. A conscious hit is far better than the endless unconscious ones we take every day. The ones that go without notice and over time build a future of physical pain and illness. Tomorrow, I will be gentle on my system and choose healthy, fresh chemical-free food to help my body rid itself of any toxins it may have encountered tonight.

Is all this worth thinking about? I say, it is. Our fish are dying, our children are getting poisoned and the health of our oceans are deteriorating before our very eyes. Let us try and change one step at a time.

Saddened by the condition of our world tonight. May we all do better tomorrow,

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wild Mint Room Freshener

When my husband was finishing his dissertation, he would become mentally exhausted and stressed out but had to continue his demanding timeline and workload. After reading the benefits of peppermint oil, I purchased a small bottle of it. He began carrying it in his backpack. When he was completely mentally tired or before any big tests, he would take the small bottle out and breath it in deeply. This simple act sent new stimuli to his brain. It helped him feel less stress and improved his mental stamina. I will never forget this experience or the benefits of breathing in the oil. It was such an easy way to help him with the daily stress of life and it worked!
Nowadays, when I clean my house I want to refresh the air around me. I think about lighting my candles, and while smelling 'good', can actually fill the air with harmful chemicals and make my lungs work harder at keeping the air clean. Yuck! Now what?
...Mint! I have a patch of wild mint growing in my backyard! The patch was healthy and I cut a large handful from it. I placed it in a sauce pan of water and set it on the stove to boil. The whole house was filled with the delicious smell of mint. It was just what I needed to feel revived and ready to clean! It felt great knowing that I could throw away polluting candles, plug-ins and sprays and send fragrance threw my house naturally!
Luckily, the health food store has a ton of different essential oils that make it possible to change the scents regularly! Jasmine in the air is one of my favorites, so far, and a little goes throughout the entire house.
Who knew the mint patch in my backyard could enhance my life so easily just by giving it a thought!

Interesting trivia for the history of Mint Aromatherapy:

The British Medical Journal in 1879 wrote that smelling menthol, (the main component in peppermint) relieves headaches and nerve pain. It became hugely popular to have a menthol cone in the home that would evaporate and fill the air with the smell of mint! Scientists agree that peppermint oil can help improve concentration and help us stay awake and alert.
For more interesting reading on using mint to relieve pain check out:

Here's to Happy Smelling!
Be Well,
DandelionHeart Opening For You

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chicken of the Woods- The original recipe!

Today was my lucky day! Simply driving down the road past a local wooded, area in our neighborhood, my husband spotted a Chicken of the Woods Mushroom. This was a spectacular find!
We immediately pulled over to the side of the road, jumped out and started pulling the gigantic mushroom up at its root. The whole thing weighed about 6 lbs! After throwing it in an ice cooler when we arrived home, I got to work at creating a quick, easy and healthy stir-fry.

Chicken of the Woods Stir-Fry

1 lb mushroom Chicken of the woods, cleaned, chopped
2 TB Oil (I used olive oil)
1 cup rice
1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables
5 oz. water chestnuts (optional)
frozen peaches (optional, can substitute mango or pineapple)


1 Tb sesame oil
1 Tb chopped ginger (1 tsp dried)
1 Tb minced garlic
2 TB chopped scallions
1 1/2 Tb cornstarch stirred into 1/3 cup water
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp mongolian fire oil (or any chili oil)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Prepping the Mushroom:
Cut off a portion of the mushrooms and slice into sections. Carefully wash each section under water. Examine each section of mushroom for decay or bugs. Discard any pieces with decay or dark spots.

In a large stock pot add the 2 TB oil. Place the mushroom into the hot oil and stir.
If it is getting too dry, add 1/4 water as needed. Cook mushroom for 15 minutes on med. heat, stirring occasionally. Turn mushroom down to low heat and let sit on stove, while rest is being prepared.

Place 2 1/2 cups of water in another pan, add 1 TB butter bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add 1 Cup Rice and 1/2 Cup frozen vegetables. cover and do not lift lid for 15-20 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork. If rice isn't as tender as you like, add 1-2 TB water over the top, cover and return to heat for 5 more minutes.


In a small bowl, mix the sesame oil, ginger, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, fire oil, and cilantro and stir. mix together the water and cornstarch until dissolved. Pour both mixtures over the mushrooms and saute. Add a few frozen peaches and the water chestnuts.

Sit back and enjoy the fruit of your labor!

Nutritional Facts:
Chicken of the Woods has no poisonous look-alikes. It is a common and widespread mushroom. The flesh is white with bright orange and pale yellow colors. It tastes very much like chicken without all the grease! It even has the the same texture as chicken, looking like muscle fibers as you slowly tear it.
To learn more:

Mushrooms are nutritional superstars. According to a 2009 study in the international Journal of Cancer, eating as little as two mushrooms a day- even the everyday white button- could cut your risk of breast cancer by 64 Percent! Mushrooms are brimming with protein, B vitamins, selenium, potassium and has antibacterial properties to help the body fight foreign invaders.

Whether you find a chicken of the woods mushroom or go past the button mushrooms at your local store, think twice before you leave them behind. Mushrooms can add nutritional punch to your life!

Wishing you optimal health,
From DandelionHeart to Yours!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cashews or Prozac?

Today, I finished watching FoodMatters and feel invigorated. Invigorated that everything we need to be whole, healthy and free of disease is all around us. One of the most spetacular bits of information received from this movie was from Dr. Andrew Saul. He stated that two handfuls of cashews a day, gives one the therapeutic equivalent of a prescription dose of prozac. Cashews? Really???
Wow, imagine something so easy and so inexpensive (compared to a prescription medicine) that has the ability to do what Prozac does without SIDE EFFECTS!
We need to hear Hippocrates's words time and time again.
Why is it so easy for us to believe that a 'pill' has all the answers inside its tiny capsule and not an organic, fresh foods diet? They both go in through our digestive track and feed our cells something. One choice might be a green-colored pill, but is it not a form of food going into your mouth? Not one cell in our body is made out of a drug. Yet, fruits and vegetables contain all the raw materials to build up our health and feed our cells. Feed the cells and they will heal themselves. We need a multitude of vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat. We can not remain deficient in building materials by eating a diet low in vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, iron and more, and expect to pop a pill and have our mind and body healthy again. Pills treat symptoms, which is great in crisis-prevention, but not great in chronic illness. FOOD treats the root cause. So just for today, I encourage you to drink more filtered water, eat more fruits and vegetables, and feel satisfied that you fed your body what it needs to build and thrive on. If not today, then when?
And, just in case you are feeling depressed along with low energy, why not try the two handfuls of cashews a day, that Dr. Saul has watched work time and time again? What have you got to lose but depression? I truly believe that given the right vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, your body will know how to heal itself. It is a God-given right to be strong, healthy, and vibrant. We have everything we need in nature to feed ourselves properly. It is important to remember the rule: If our grandmothers wouldn't recognize it as food, DON'T EAT IT!
We have been marketed to death and it is time to take back control for our lives. We are still free to decide what type of foods we will put into our bodies. The saying is not a lie: We are what we eat. Let's eat vibrant, healthy life-sustaining foods and allow them to jump start the God-given healing mechanism inside each of us.
Wishing you the best,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Polenta me Please!

MMMM....Polenta. Even the word brings me comfort. When you can make one as hardy as my recipe, you will need nothing else but your friends. It is a great meatless meal and it's quite delicious!
Here is the recipe:

Black bean, Tomato Basil Polenta

4 cups Stone-ground Cornmeal
6-7 cups Water
2 tsp Salt
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Onion,finely chopped
fresh Basil leaves or 1 tsp dried
2 cups Black beans
2 Tomatoes, chopped

In a bowl, measure out 4 cups cornmeal set aside. In large pot, bring 6 cups of water and salt to a boil. slowly add cornmeal, stirring constantly with a whisk. (add the last cup of water, if it is getting hard to stir) Lower heat and continue to stir until liquid is reduced and polenta is thick and it comes away from the sides of the pot.

Stir in cheese, black beans, tomatoes, onions and basil.

Pour into a buttered 9 x 13 dish. Bake at 300 degrees for 60-90 minutes till set.

I like to serve this with a nice salad and warm tomato sauce poured over the polenta!
So easy and SO good!

Nutrtional Tips:

Stone-ground cornmeal keeps more of the corn's hull and germ, which contain more fiber and nutrients, like Vit E! Keep your Stone-ground corn in the refrigerator to keep it fresher longer and to protect its nutrients.

I like to use Bob's Red Mill 100% Whole-Grain Cornmeal.

Stone-ground Cornmeal is an excellent source of iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, zinc, copper, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B-6. All very important elements to protect our bodies and build a foundation of good health!

From my DandelionHeart to Yours,
Eat Well!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Great Fluoride Debate

Albert Einstein's nephew, Dr. E.H. Bronner warned, "As a research chemist of established standing, I built within the past 22 years, 3 American chemical plants and licensed 6 of my 53 patents. Based on my years of practical experience in the health-food and chemical field, let me warn: fluoridation of drinking water is criminal insanity, sure national suicide. Don't do it."

Have you ever tried to research a topic that goes back 60 years? I've read just a tiny portion of reports on the fluoridation of water, and have come to my own conclusions that fluoride in water is not for me or for my family. I even love my animals too much to give them tap water that has fluoride in it.
I know, the government's reasoning is short but well-taught from childhood. Fluoride protects our teeth. Period, plain and simple, right? Well, maybe not.
One google search, youtube-watching or fact-checking, shows how this is BIG BUSINESS!
The Fluoride Debate, by Dr. F.B. Exner, F.A.C.R. states: "The one utterly relentless force behind fluoridation is American 'big industry' and the motive is not profit as such, but fear. Fear of colossal damage suits, and fear that official intervention will begin to mushroom wherever fluoride devastates air, water, soil and all forms of life. Added to this is fear of forfeiting the legally permissible level for dumping fluoride wastes into water supplies which is presently in effect for the specific purpose of accommodating industry."
It makes me worry when America is one of the only countries that allows and supports fluoridation. 99% of Western Continental Europe has rejected, banned, or stopped water fluoridation.
What do they know that we are not being told?
I don't know, but I am convinced to get another source for my drinking water besides the stuff that comes out of my tap at home.
One plan is to get a water filtration system for your home. It will go a long way to clean out the pollutants in your water. Yes, there are others! I have spent countless dollars on reverse osmosis water, bottled water, and a home water filtration system.
So, in my search for more freedom from corporate-control and health, I stumbled upon some encouraging information. It said to look in your local area for artesian or natural water springs. The water source comes from deep within the earth and remains a constant, cold temperature as it pours out of the mouth into our water bottles. All I had to do was ask the elderly people in my hometown, if they knew where any natural water springs were located. Not only did they know, but their eyes lit up as they told me stories of how they used to gather water and drink from it when they were young. Imagine my delite, when I found my dream water source only 1 block away from my house! The spring pours out strong and cold. The water tastes better than any I have ever tasted. The best thing is it's FREE and UNFLUORIDATED! (And UNCHLORINATED, which is a whole other topic!) Just to be on the safe side, I called the local biology department of the college here and asked to talk to anyone who has completed water samples on the spring. Sure enough, the local was more than willing to give me a full report and even said he would rather drink from the spring than from the tap in his home.
Just a side note, it is a waste of time to call your local health department upon finding a spring. They will give you a stock answer and tell you it is "not safe" drinking from springs. You are better off asking a local biologist or having your own water samples taken.
Phew~ I may not know all I should about fluoride in our water supply, but I know enough to try to find a better way.
Thank God for natural springs!
This is DandelionHeart opening for You.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mulberry Pie in the city

Yesterday, while on our running trail, my husband yells, "It's a mulberry tree" and screeches to a halt. Out of breath and sweaty, he starts picking the fruit off the tree and gobbling them down right there. A young, pretty black girl wearing headphones comes running by and my husband enthusiastically holds out his purple-stained hand and offers her a mulberry! Her face scrunches up and she shook her head NO, and she quickly picked up her pace! I said, 'Honey, that was weird'. His answer made me think. "Well, it shouldn't be weird. It's a beautiful tree, ripe with fruit and everyone is completely ignoring it. That should be weird." As I thought about it, he was right. How many times do we think only food in the grocery store can be harvested? On our running trail, there are at least 3 huge, mulberry trees ready for the picking and they are going to waste! How sad.
Today, he left to pick up some cow manure for our garden and came back with a huge, bag of mulberries from off the trail! I promptly went to work, soaking them in a solution of water with a 1/8 cup hydrogen peroxide and 1/8 cup vinegar. After rinsing them thoroughly, I created this recipe.

Mulberry Crisp

2 1/2 cups mulberries
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lime juice
1 heaping TB brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Mix it all in the bowl, let it sit, while making the topping. Preheat oven to 375.

Crisp Topping

6 TB (real) butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

use your fingers and work the butter with the rest of the ingredients so that you have a coarse, crumbly mixture.

Place the fruit mixture in a 9x9 square dish, pour crumbles over the top. Pop in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

Some benefits of eating Mulberries:
improves wound healing, antioxidants prevent cellular damage, strengthens liver and kidney functioning! Information taken from
Dandelion Opening to You!

analysis of nutrients:

Mulberry (Morus nigra .L), Fresh, raw,
Nutrition Value per 100 g,
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
PrincipleNutrient ValuePercentage of RDA
Energy43 Kcal2%
Carbohydrates9.80 g7.5%
Protein1.44 g2.5%
Total Fat0.39 g2%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber1.7 g4.5%
Folates6 mcg1.5%
Niacin0.620 mg4%
Pyridoxine0.050 mg4%
Riboflavin0.101 mg8%
Vitamin A25 IU1%
Vitamin C36.4 mg61%
Vitamin E0.87 mg6%
Vitamin K7.8 mcg6.5%
Sodium10 mg0.75%
Potassium194 mg4%
Calcium39 mg4%
Copper60 mcg6.5%
Iron1.85 mg23%
Magnesium18 mg4.5%
Selenium0.6 mcg1%
Zinc0.12 mg1%
Carotene--ß9 mcg--
Carotene, α12 mcg--
Lutein-zeaxanthin136 mcg--