Chestnut Soup

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 January 2011 02:42 Written by Flax Monday, 30 August 2010 01:34

In honor of Tu Be’shvat, I made fruit and nut dishes with my class. Since chestnuts are a nut that are found fresh in the winter, it makes it appropriate to serve them now.

While this dish is vegan, I wouldn’t exactly call it one of my healthier recipes. It is however perfect for people who are in a transitional stage, where they are trying to cut down on animal products but are still craving the heavier foods.


Olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 package button mushrooms, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 parsnip, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 liters water
3 bags peeled and roasted chesnuts (200 gr.)
2 cups soy milk or oat milk
4 chives, chopped, for garnish.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and leeks and saute over a low flame until the onions are translucent. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from the flame. Puree, garnish and serve.

Serves 8


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Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chestnuts and Mushrooms

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 10:51 Written by Flax Monday, 30 August 2010 01:22

The deep orange and green colors of the acorn squash remind us of the autumn leaves.  This is a great dish to serve at a Thanksgiving dinner, either as a beautiful first course, or as a side-dish during the main course.  If acorn squash is not available in your area, use a butternut squash instead.

The recipe below calls for both pine nuts and chestnuts.  Seeds and nuts are nature’s spark of life.  A tiny nut has the potential of producing an enormous tree, when eaten these seeds and nuts provide us with a huge amount of condensed energy.  Eaten in large quantities, oil rich nuts tax the liver.  Eaten in small quantities, nuts and seeds are beneficial to the immune system.  Nuts are fatty foods that serve as a great source of vitamin E.  Vitamin E serves as a nerve protector and as an immune-enhancing oxidant.   When eaten in small amounts, seeds and nuts can strengthen the immune system and prevent the need for taking vitamin E supplements.  If you find that you crave nuts and seeds you might want to cut back on your consumption of refined vegetable oils.  Refined vegetable oils play a significant role in our need for vitamin E.  The more refined vegetable oils that you use, the greater the need for vitamin E.

Nuts and seeds have a tendency to become rancid very quickly.  It is healthier to buy nuts in their shell and to crack them at home.  This does not have to be an overwhelming proposition, give your older children a hammer and let them have the time of their lives!

The recipe below has a few steps but it isn’t complicated


  • 4 acorn squash.

Slice the squash in half and discard the seeds. Bake in a preheated oven at 180c (350f), for  30 minutes. The squash should be slightly soft but not fully cooked.  Remove from the oven, fill, and bake for twenty minutes more.


  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 box button mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 package of tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 1 bag peeled and roasted chestnuts (100 gr)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1 tbsp cranberries, for garnish

Mix together the flax seed and the hot water and allow to sit for five minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.  Lightly saute the remaining ingredients for five minutes, until they have slightly softened.  Remove from the flame and puree in a blender or food processor until the mixture  is smooth.  Stir in the flax seed and spoon the mixture into the hollow at the center of the squash.  Garnish with the cranberries and bake for twenty minutes more.

Serve warm.  Serves 8.


Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Holistic Healer.  She also teaches  Healthy-Cooking Classes.

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Is it a Muffin or is it a Meal

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 07:54 Written by Flax Monday, 30 August 2010 12:36

While I serve these muffins as dessert, they are so healthy and so filling they can really be called a meal.  This is especially true if you have any young, finicky eaters who refuse to eat anything that actually resembles food. While it contains many wonderful and healthy ingredients, my favorite ingredient here is the flax-seed.

Flax seed is an incredible food.  It is a  great food for everyone but it is especially helpful if you are interested in losing weight, strengthening your immune system, cleansing your arteries or cleansing your colon.    Flax seeds,  and their by-product, flax-seed oil, are receiving a lot of recognition these days, as many people are becoming more interested in the healing properties of  omega-3.  Omega-3, extolled for its ability to lower cholesterol and improve concentration,  is the healthiest oil around and flax-seed is the highest source of this oil.  Since I am also a very practical person, there is an added value to always having flax-seed in my pantry.  Keeping a jar of flax-sed around can prevent a culinary emergency if you happen to have an unfortunate accident with your last egg.

Yes, eggs and flax-seed perform the same function and are interchangable.  Eggs are a hidden product in so many foods that we eat on a daily basis.  People who are allergic to eggs, suffer from high cholesterol, or who just want to cut down on animal products, often get stuck when it comes to eggs.  Eggs are used to bind foods together and since they are relatively inexpensive and easily available, they are the most common binding food that is used today.  There are alternatives however, flax-seeds, soaked in water, become mucilaginous and they can perform the same moistening and  binding function as eggs, and simultaneously improve your health!  The basic recipe for substituting eggs with flax is: 1 tbsp ground flax-seed+2-3 tbsp water=1 egg.  Allow the flax-seed and water to sit for five minutes before adding it to the rest of the dish.  This gives the flax-seed time to absorb the water and to become “eggy”.

The recipe below is a basic muffin recipe, just much healthier. The carrot, apple, and banana replace the sugar. The chesnuts and banana replace the oil, and the flaxseed replaces the egg. While the recipe below still uses a small amount of both sugar and oil if you wish to you can eliminate them entirely and replace them with applesauce instead.


  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 2 bags, peeled and roasted chesnuts (200 gr.)
  • 1 red apple, peeled and cored
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups flour (I recommend using 70% whole wheat or spelt.)
  • 1/4 cup demerara sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 tbsp ground flax-seed, soaked in 2 tbsp hot water for 5 minutes
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup craisins or chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180 c/350 f.
Puree the carrot, chestnuts, and the fruits in a food processor, add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Lightly oil a muffin tin. Spoon in the batter until the muffin cups are 2/3 full.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the tops are golden.

Note:  Most of the omega-3 oil is lost when the flax-seed is cooking yet it still retains all the other health benefits, primarily it’s cleansing properties.  Additionally, the omega-3 in ground flax-seed and in flax-seed oil is very delicate, to best benefit from their oil, the products need to be kept refrigerated and used within a few weeks of their purchase.


Sima Herzfeld Navon has a clinic for holistic medicine.  She also teaches healthy cooking and holistic nutrition.  To learn more about Sima, visit her website at

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