Shiitake Pasta Sauce

Since so many health experts have credited shiitake mushrooms with immune strengthening abilities, I wanted to include them in an easy to prepare dish. I also selected fresh thyme and oregano for their purported anti-viral properties; they also add a fresh and unique flavor to this recipe.

Before sharing this recipe, I should probably digress a little and share that I have not always been fond of mushrooms.  Raised in Germany, our family was not particularly familiar with mushrooms and certainly never collected any ourselves. To my knowledge, no one that I knew was very familiar with the types of mushrooms that would be safe to eat. During those days, mushrooms were not easily found in grocery stores. Mushrooms always seemed to have an air of danger attached to them. Probably too many images of toadstools in fairy tales.  A distant aunt apparently knew quite a bit about how to forage safely, but sadly, I never had an opportunity to go along on one of her forest walks. If I went out foraging today, I would  seek out someone who is far more familiar with the varying types of fungi growing in the forests than I am. Continue reading

Carrot Pasta Sauce

Carrot Pasta Sauce, copyright 2010, All rights reserved

A few days ago, we came across a beautiful website called Meatless Mondays (see our link to it under Blogs We Love). This non-profit organization’s goal is to reduce meat consumption by at least 15%. Quite a few celebrities such as Paul McCartney, Gwyneth Paltrow (check out her new website “goop” in our Blogs We Love link) and Alicia Silverstone, have joined this campaign so far. Having embraced a complete vegan lifestyle for about 12 years in the past, this campaign really spoke to our hearts. Although we are no longer vegan, we still overall try to eat mostly vegetarian. We rarely eat meat, and if we do, we take great care to only select meat from animals that have been treated humanely. Our recipes do include some dairy and eggs, but always from organic sources, and farms that still embrace the values of raising their animals ethically and humanely. In our own case, the healing from the damaging effects of gluten intolerance, has necessitated many changes. We learned to be open-minded about our food choices, but always  have and still feel strongly about organic foods, and especially the humane treatment of farm animals (and all animals for that matter). Continue reading

Parsley Pesto with Rainbow Chard

Parsley Pesto with Rainbow Chard, copyright 2010 All rights reserved.

Most people are familiar with traditional pesto recipes that use basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Creating a variation on this delicious recipe, we replaced the pine nuts with almonds and the basil with Italian parsley and rainbow chard. We also added mint, which adds a bright fresh flavor, nicely complementing the other ingredients. Continue reading