Simple Winter Recipes
Winter Warming Breakfast Cereal
This quick breakfast can warm you from the inside out, strengthen the foundation of your body’s energy, and having you ready to face the cold weather outside!
Chinese Medicine agrees with the adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. 7:00 to 9:00 am is the time of the day when energy concentrates in our Stomach. Our Yang (active, warming) energy is growing at that time in the morning, and we need good fuel to support the rest of the day. Here’s some basic steps to make a quick, nutritious hot cereal to support your Kidney-Adrenal system and to warm the body.
- Soak 10-15 goji berries for 5-15 minutes, if desired (to remove red dye on many of the commercially available berries). Discard the soak water and rinse again. I find if I use organic berries they don’t seem to have much colour come off. Recently popularized in Western nutrition, Goji berries (a.k.a. wolfberries) have long been used in Chinese medicine to support the Kidney-adrenal system, longevity, vitality, and the eyes in particular.
- Also optional: in a pan, dry-fry almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and/or unsweetened coconut flakes until lightly toasted to use as toppings (don’t do all these all at once as they take different amounts of time to toast well). You can toast a larger quantity at once and keep in the fridge, ready to go in the morning.)
- Put 1 cup of water in a pot on to boil
- While boiling, add the goji berries.
- Measure 1/3 cup of steel cut oats and add to the water (while or after boiling), with a pinch of sea salt or seaweed (e.g. dulse, ground wakame – excellent for minerals and to support the Kidney-Adrenals… don’t add too much if you don’t want the fishy sea taste!)
- When water boils, turn down to a simmer
- Add 5-10 raisins or other small dried fruit pieces
- Add dried and ground warming spices: cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon best if you can find it), dried ginger (change to fresh if you’re coming down with a cold), nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, etc.
- Cut up an apple (or half an apple, depending how large it is). If you are really trying to minimize Dampness (mucus, Candida, etc.) in the body, berries may be better.
- Depending on the cut of the oatmeal, it will cook in approx 5-12 minutes
- Add apple (and coconut, if using) to the pot 2 minutes before you take it off the stove
- Sprinkle with black sesame seeds (yellow sesame is okay too, but black is even better for the Kidney-Adrenals), almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc. to taste.
- If desired, can add almond or rice milk, and/or sweetener (honey, maple syrup, unsugared jam, etc.)
- Dry-toast the actual oats, or toast with a bit of coconut oil, before adding the water to boil – this adds a really hardy, delicious flavour, and increases the warmth of the grain from a Chinese medicine point of view.
- Vary the grains (I like whole grain kamut, quinoa, millet, rice cereal, etc.)
- Vary the toppings and the flavours (e.g. banana is nice if you don’t have too much Dampness, i.e. excessive mucus symptoms – ask your practitioner. Pear is moistening if you have a dry throat or cough, etc.)
Cooked Pressed Winter Salad
From Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods.
- Use one or more leafy greens: kale, bok choy, chard, watercress, cabbage, or parsley.
- Plunge whole leaves into scalding water and cook 2-3 minutes.
- Method 1: Roll leaves in a bamboo mat and press out excess water.
- Method 2: Place leaves on a plate. Cover with a flat dish. Put a weight on top. Let stand 30 minutes. Pour off water.
- Chop finely.
- Add miso, toasted nuts or seeds, or salad dressing.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Did you know brussel sprouts can be absolutely delicious? They’re a perfect winter green, hardy and hearty, and I’ve surprised many people by making them delicious and desirable.
As members of the Brassica family (including broccoli, kale, turnip, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.), in Chinese medicine’s view, they help move Liver Qi Stagnation – this means they have a mild effect on improving and unblocking energy circulation. Qi Stagnation is a very common factor in imbalances, pains, and chronic illness. The National Cancer Institute in the US recommends Brassica vegetables for its anti-cancer, antioxidant properties.
Generally, you wash and cut the brussel sprouts in half, season them, and roast for about 25 minutes on 375F, turning once or twice for even roasting. Check on them: you’ll want them tender and still somewhat bright green, not overcooked and dull-looking. Here are my favourite ways of seasoning (do this before cooking):
- coconut oil or butter, plus garlic (in whole cloves, or diced and mixed in), salt and pepper (generously)
- toss with a splash of balsamic vinegar and then toss again with olive oil (or coconut oil, but I prefer olive oil with the balsamic), then salt and pepper
- toss with red onion slivers, olive oil, salt and pepper for the first 20 minutes. Then 5 minutes before done, add a drizzle of maple syrup and some chopped walnuts. Yum!
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