Mahlabi-Healthy Style

Last Updated on Tuesday, 4 December 2012 12:59 Written by Flax Tuesday, 4 December 2012 12:37

While the ingredients in this recipe, might be more appropriate for Tu Be’Shvat then for Hanukkah, this is an excellent dessert to eat post latkes and sufganiot.  This delicious, light, and creamy dessert, is  both egg free and gluten free, and it will also help you to metabolize the fatty foods that we so lovingly consume on this holiday of oil.  Whoops, I meant holiday of light,  not holiday of oil, then again…   Anyway, eating agar (seaweed gelatine), with your holiday meals,  can help you to incorporate both the elements of the light and the oil into your festivities.

Those of you who prefer ingredients that they know, simply replace the agar and kudzu with  five tablespoons of cornstarch.  In my opinion, if your weight, health, and appearance matter to you, it’s worth making a trip to the health food store to pick up these “exotic” ingredients.   Agar, like all seaweeds is used to help digestion and to help with weight loss, it also helps to remove toxic wastes from your body (ie. rancid oils used in deep-frying your latkes and sufganiot).   Other benefits to using agar- it is a great source of calcium and iron, and besides that it is anti-aging, it will give you great skin and hair as well.

While you are in the health food buying your agar-agar, pick up some kudzu (arrowroot) as well.  Kudzu is an excellent addition to any meal involving fried foods.  When consumed, some of kudzu’s complex starch molecules enter the intestines and relieve the discomfort caused by over-acidity and bacterial infection. Medical research has shown kudzu to be helpful in connection to, indigestion and heart burn, as well as numerous health conditions such as, high blood pressure, blood sugar regulation, chronic migraine headaches, shoulder and neck pain, high cholesterol, blood clots, sinus troubles, acid reflux, indigestion, heartburn, stomach ulcers, colitis, hangovers, allergies, alcohol addiction, bronchial asthma, skin rashes, heart disease and neurological disorders.

Women however have a special place in their heart for kudzu as it has been shown to have a strong effect on the body’s hormonal system and can help regulate estrogen levels – of primary importance to post menopausal women to help in preventing bone loss,  estrogen related disorders, and cancer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 liter (4 cups) almond milk (I used the organic Adama brand, which like most brands,  has some sugar in it)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp rose water OR orange blossom water
  • 3 1/2 tbsp kudzu
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 4 tbsp agar-agar
  • 1/4 cup shelled and coarsely chopped unsalted pistachio nuts (for garnish)
  • pomegranate concentrate

Dissolve the kudzu in cold water and allow to sit for five minutes.

Heat the almond milk in a saucepan over a low flame.  When the liquid reaches a slow boil, add the honey and the orange blossom/rose water.  Slowly sprinkle in the agar and stir continuously until the agar flakes have completely dissolved (approximately five minutes).  Stir in the kudzu and continue mixing for one minute more.

Pour half a cup of the mixture  into eight wine glasses or ice cream cups.  Allow to cool slightly, and then refrigerate for one hour.

To serve, garnish with the pistachio nuts and drizzle with the pomegranate concentrate.

Serves 8

Enjoy!

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Nutritional Healer and a Wellness Counselor.  For individual or group classes contact her at Sima@JustAddFlax.com

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Chilled Cherry Soup

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 May 2012 03:44 Written by Flax Monday, 21 May 2012 12:51

While Rabbinical lore, promotes dining on meat and wine on the Sabbath and Holidays- as a means to elevating the joy of the day,  it is actually preferable to eat dairy on Shavuot.  Traditional Jewish foods for Shavuot include the Hungarian blintz, stuffed with sweet and sour delicacies, and of course, the obligatory cheese cake for dessert.  While blintzes are an extremely time consuming dish to make, not all delicious foods need to be labor intensive.  To stay with the Hungarian theme, I recommend No-Work Chilled Hungarian Cherry Soup as a first course.

Hungarian Cherry Soup is very appropriate for Israel at this time of year as we are now at the peak of our very short lived cherry season.  Should you have your own cherry tree, have willing child labor, or just enjoy pitting the cherries yourself, then definitely make a cherry soup from scratch.  If the above conditions do not apply to you, then follow the easy and delicious short-cut recipe below.

I like to serve this dish for lunch, it makes an easy transition for groggy people (who stayed awake all night studying) to start their day.  Likewise, this dish can be used as an easy, gluten-free dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 2  jars pitted sour cherries, with their juice. (1.5 kilo)  OR 1.5 kilo fresh red cherries, stemmed and pitted.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 container of cream, 15% (or 1 cup soy milk)
  • 1/4 cup Emerald Riesling (optional)

Add the wine and the jars of cherries, with their juice, to a soup tureen.   In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and 1⁄4 cup of cherry liquid and the spices.  Chill the soup.  Serve cold.

If you are using fresh cherries, stem and pit the cherries, cook them in a saucepan with 4 cups of water, a pinch of salt,  and 1/4 cup of sugar, for thirty minutes or until soft.  Add the cream, wine,  and spices, and refrigerate for four hours.

SERVES 4 – 6

Tip:  Refrigerate the jars of cherries and then combine the ingredients before serving.

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Nutritional Healer and she teaches Healthy Cooking Classes.

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Coconut Cookies

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 04:56 Written by Flax Wednesday, 15 February 2012 04:41

While I am not a big fan of baked desserts, there are times when they are appropriate.  While baking recipes will often call for butter, Jewish law prevents eating a dairy dessert after a meat meal.  Traditional Jewish dessert recipes, such as yeast cakes and kichelech,overcame this problem by creating desserts which technically did not need any fat.  Modern Jewish baking recipes have adapted dairy dessert recipes, replacing the butter with margarine.  Unfortunately, as many of us well know, margarine is extremely unhealthy.

Hydrogenated fat, margarine, or trans fat, is one of the worst things that a person can put in their body.  In addition to being linked to coronary heart disease, it also tastes terrible.  I personally can’t stand that scum that sticks to the tongue and the roof of the mouth after having (accidentally) eaten something with margarine.  Not only that, I know that the scum that is on my tongue is the same scum that is sticking to my intestinal wall as well as clogging up my arteries.  So, what are the options?  Many of us believe that canola oil provides a healthier alternative.  This is not necessarily the case, as the oil on supermarket shelves is refined.  The refining process depletes the oil of vital nutrients and, while it removes the taste of rancidity, the harmful effects of rancid oil remain behind.

The recipe below recommends using coconut oil.  While again, I think everyone is better off without cookies, I know that some of us, at least some of the time, might on occasion eat a cookie or two.  In which case, I try to make the baked goods as delicious, and as healthy as possible.  Coconut oil was not traditionally used in baking but rather as a skin moisturizer and a hair conditioner.   As a practitioner who bases her beliefs on proven ancient traditions, I still think that it is better not to bake with coconut oil, but rather to stay completely away from baked desserts.  Since I know that the vast majority of people won’t do that, I will have to say, that after butter, the best choice of fat to use in baking would be coconut oil.

The myth that coconut oil is bad for you is unfounded:

  • Coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure and it does not lead to increase in LDL levels.
  • Coconut oil strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
  • Coconut oil contains lesser calories than other oils, its fat content is easily converted into energy and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil helps in boosting energy and endurance, and enhances the performance of athletes.
  • Coconut oil is now shown to be helpful in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Coconut oil stops tooth decay.  (I would still recommend brushing your teeth after a eating a cookie).

My daughter used the recipe below to make cookies for her brother’s bar-mitzvah.  They were so good that unfortunately there are none left.  I am hoping that we will get lucky and she will make us another batch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3 tbsp hot water
  • 8 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup whole spelt flour (or wheat)
  • 1 cup white spelt flour (or wheat)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180 c (350 f).

Pour the hot water over the ground flax seed and allow to sit for five minutes.

Cream the sugar and the coconut oil.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix with an electric mixer until smooth.

Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/2 cm thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes.

Place the cookies on a greased cookie sheet and decorate with the chocolate chips.

Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a nutritional healer and teaches healthy cooking classes.

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