Ying Yang Xue

"If something is cold, heat it. If something is hot, cool it." –Huangdi Neijing

Archive for the category “Kidney yin deficiency”

Black Bean and Black Rice Congee With Honey Glazed Walnuts for Kidney Yin Deficiency (xu)

Kidney Yin Xu Food Therapy

In five element theory, the color of the food correlates with the color of the five elements.  Black represents the color of water which applies to the Kidney. In Ancient Chinese, the whole grains are considered as the essence of the plants; consuming the essence of the whole grains will nourish the post heaven Jing. Kidney Yin deficient individuals should avoid diets that are spicy, hot, fried or high on sodium to prevent from further injury of the Yin. The ingredients of congee I choose are mostly in black color; they will have tendency to enter kidney channel. Since grain’s temperature is mostly neutral or cool; it’s a safe choice for Yin deficiency people.

The major ingredients of the congee are black rice, black beans  and black sesame seeds. The black rice was mentioned in “Ben Cao Gang Mu” as nourish Yin, tonify kidney, strengthen spleen, brighten eyes and invigorate blood. The black bean is sweet, neutral, goes to spleen and kidney channels, have actions of nourishing blood, calming the mind, tonifying kidney, nourishing Yin, brightening eyes, transform dampness, invigorate blood and clear heat. It is the best food therapy for Yin deficiency with empty heat. The black sesame seed is sweet and neutral, has the actions of nourishing and fortifying kidneys and liver, nourishing blood to extinguish wind, moistening and lubricating the intestines. Black sesame seeds are ideal for Yin deficiency with constipation. Go Qi Zi enters lung, liver and kidney, it tonifies liver and kidney, nourishes blood, Yin and moistens the lung.

The walnut is warm and sweet, enters lung, kidney and large intestines. It has actions of strengthening the back and knees, Warms the Lungs and Helps the Kidneys grasp Qi, Warms the Lungs and Helps the Kidneys grasp Qi. The combination of congee and walnuts provides good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fibers and omega 3 fatty acids.

Ingredients

Black rice
Black beans
Black sesame seeds
Go Qi Zi
Long Yan Rou (optional)
Mixed whole grain package contains brown
rice, barley, Yi Yi Ren, whole wheat,
buckwheat, purple Shan Yao, red lentil, black
bean, Qian Shi, oats.

Cooking Instructions

• Mix half cup of black rice, one cup of whole
grain mixes, half cup of black beans, a
quarter to half cup of black sesame seeds in
the slow cooker.

• Add 7 to 12 cups of water depends on the preferred thickness of the congee.!
• After the congee is done, stir in 1/4 cup Go Qi Zi or Long Yan Rou.!

Variations:
• KD tonic parfait – layer chilled congee with Greek yogurt, walnuts, raspberries or
blueberries.
• Traditional congee breakfast – added sea salt for flavor, sprinkle seaweed toppings,
Chinese pickles or Kimchi.

photo1 yin xu                 photo2 yin xu

TCM DOS: Kidney Yin deficiency

Western correlations: menopause, hyperthyroidism, aging

TCM s/s: dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo, poor memory, hardness of hearing, night sweats, dry mouth and throat at night, low backache, nocturnal emissions, constipation, scanty dark urine, lassitude

Tongue: pale red to red with no coat

Pulse: floating-empty, rapid

Beneficial foods:  wheat, oats, rice, millet, barley, eggs,  zucchini, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, melons, string beans, beets, button mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, apples, banana, blueberries, black berries, peaches, mulberries, mango

Food to avoid:  chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, basil, cloves, coffee, alcohol

Cooking methods: steaming, water saute’, blanching and salting are recommended. Excess water with the cooking technique you choose is also useful.

 

 

Take 2 Banana Puddings & Call me in the Morning

This week we addressed kidney yin deficiency, and AP really thought this one through.  If  your yin is taxed, one of the last things you want to do is stand in the kitchen and make a big deal out of meals.  It’s more of a”grab and go” mentality–and unfortunately, most convenience foods have the potential to drain the kidney yin even more.  Fortunately, AP created this quick, delicious, and most importantly, easy recipe to have on hand.  It’s a vegan “pudding” made with rich, nourishing ingredients, with enough optional ingredients to provide the cooling that most of our kidney yin deficient patients need.  This pudding can serve as dessert, snack, or even breakfast!

TCM DOS: Kidney Yin Deficiency

Kidney yin in Chinese Medicine is thought to be similar to the parasympathetic nervous system, to restore and regenerate. Too much multitasking and stress can deplete this valuable system. It is necessary to get plenty of rest and follow a healthy diet to help correct Kidney yin deficiency.  Lifestyle changes are a vital key in improving ones health.

Remove yourself from the drama of the day. Turn off the television. Walk away from the phone. Try to exercise more such as: nature walks, meditation, tai chi, qi gong, or yoga. Get in touch with what makes you happy or creative through art, reading or writing, etc.  Invest time in yourself! You will surely notice and appreciate the benefits.

To replenish kidney yin with the foods you eat, choose foods with a wide selection of amino acids, carotenes, flavonoids, minerals, vitamins and trace elements.Traditional Chinese medicine recommends foods that are moistening and mildly cooling. Drink plenty of water.

Click here for other lifestyle tips for maintaining KD yin!

Dairy Free Banana Pudding

Oh yeah. This pudding will make you happy, whether you like it or not!

  • 3 large ripe organic bananas
  • 1c vanilla almond milk
  • ½ tbs vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c pitted dates
  • 2 tbs chia seeds soaked 4 tbs water/ 10 min until gelatinous
  • 3tbs raw cashew butter

Place all in blender until thick and creamy. Pour into bowl, refrigerate to form up to 2 hours. Serve with fresh berries: Raspberries benefit the Kidney channel.

Garnish with a sprig of chocolate mint–also cooling.  Enjoy!

Patty cake, patty cake, Kidney Yin

SB brought a colorful batch of healing to this week’s class, based around Kidney yin deficiency.  Her black bean cakes (and accompanying accoutrements) were like yin-boosting confetti puffs, dotted with nourishing blasts of colorful vegetables.  The “rainbow mango salsa” and avocado lime yogurt only added to the visual appeal and taste.  This would make an excellent dish to bring to a potluck party,  particularly since partying hard taxes the Kidney yin.    Covert healing!

TCM DOS: Kidney Yin Deficiency

KD yin xu is characterized by night sweats, hot sensation in the palms, soles and chest, dark scanty urine, thirst, dizziness, malar flush, low back pain, knee weakness, nocturnal emissions, constipation

Tongue:  Red with no or peeled coat

Pulse:  Rapid and thready

Beneficial foods for KD yin xu:  black beans, black rice, wheat, oats, rice, millet, barley, eggs, zucchini, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, melons, string beans, beets, button mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, apples, banana, blueberries, black berries, peaches, mulberries, mango, grapes, goji berries, pears, walnuts, raspberries, corn, walnuts

Foods to avoid:  chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, basil, cloves, coffee

 

Black Bean Sweet Potato Cakes with Avocado Lime Yogurt “Sour Cream” & Rainbow Salsa


  • 2 c. Black Beans
  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 1 Beet
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp  black sesame seeds
  • ½ c Corn
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 Green Bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2Red Bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 Yellow Bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 Orange Bell pepper, chopped

Boil black beans for 1.5 hours then drain.  Boil sweet potato and beet then drain.  Combine boiled black beans, sweet potato, beet and 2 eggs into food processor.  Leave some black beans out to add back into cake later.  Chop bell peppers, tomato, corn and stir into black bean cake mixture along with panko breadcrumbs and black sesame seeds.  Form mixture into small cakes/  Bake on 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes depending on size of cake.

Rainbow  Mango Salsa

  • 5 small mangoes, chopped
  • ½ cup corn
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 12/ Green Bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Red Bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Yellow Bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Orange Bell pepper, chopped
  • Mint
  • Cilantro

Chop and combine all ingredients and let sit overnight in refrigerator.

Avocado Lime Yogurt “sour cream

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 container Greek yogurt
  • 1 lime

Mix avocado and lime into Greek yogurt until smooth.

A paparazzi shot of the cakes in the nude!

Sweet lovin’ for your Kidneys

It took a few semesters, but it finally happened–Chocolate.  Sweet, sweet chocolate.  It takes a special man to make a chocolate dish for boosting Kidney yin, and JG was up to the task.   JG took a classic brownie and gave it a tonifying black bean injection.  The black bean brownies were–in a word–devourable.  (Is that even a word?)  I honestly couldn’t stop thinking about them for days.

Now we’re not advocating a therapeutic diet consisting solely of brownies (we’d be the mot popular doctors in town if we did!), but when you’re really craving a treat, why not make it a healthier version?

Check out the awesome quote JG found about nourishing the kidneys, too::

“To nourish the Kidney is to become more and more connected to our own spontaneous impulses and the will to live.” ~ Daverick Leggett, Recipes for Self-Healing

TCM DOS: Kidney Yin deficiency

Western correlations: menopause, hyperthyroidism, aging

TCM s/s: dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo, poor memory, hardness of hearing, night sweats, dry mouth and throat at night, low backache, nocturnal emissions, constipation, scanty dark urine, lassitude

Tongue: pale red to red with no coat

Pulse: floating-empty, rapid

Beneficial foods:  wheat, oats, rice, millet, barley, eggs,  zucchini, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, melons, string beans, beets, button mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, apples, banana, blueberries, black berries, peaches, mulberries, mango

Food to avoid:  chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, basil, cloves, coffee, alcohol

Cooking methods: steaming, water saute’, blanching and salting are recommended. Excess water with the cooking technique you choose is also useful.

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients

  • Butter, for greasing pan
  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, or olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan.In a blender, puree the beans with the oil. Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar, coffee, and vanilla. Melt half the chocolate chips and add to the blender. Blend on medium-high until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the blender and pulse until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until the surface looks somewhat matte around the edges and still a bit shiny in the middle, about 20 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and removing from the pan. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

If someone comes into the kitchen at midnight to see you face-first in a pan of brownies, feel free to yell “I’M JUST NOURISHING MY KIDNEY YIN!”

Soup Pho the Kidneys

As you grooooan at my joke, keep in mind ‘groaning’ is the sound of the water element in Five Element Chinese Medicine–the same element that governs the kidneys!

“WOW.”   That’s a good place to start describing this epic voyage into nourishing KD yin with the most delightful, thoughtful, so-healing-you-can-feel-it-vibrating phở  (a Vietnamese noodle soup).   SB blew our minds (but then quickly healed them via this soup) with his tongue-in-cheek ‘Temple Brand’ Phở.   Now, I’m not usually a big pho eater because it is difficult for me to find a vegetarian version; not only was SB’s broth vegetarian, it was steeped in all sorts of wonderful herbs, including shu di huang and he shou wu.  I am embarrassed to admit that I had never really partaken in a meal made with proper Chinese herbs and I was very grateful for this opportunity.  SB gave us tons of options for our soup–rice noodles, thai basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, fresh limes, sriracha, hoisin sauce, jalapenos… everyone’s dish was a little different. Oh, and I almost forgot my favorite part (if I had to pick a favorite from all the deliciousness)–the faux meat floating in the soup.  SO. GOOD!

Most astounding?  This wasn’t a regular go-to dish for SB–this project was his first time making it.

TCM DOS- Kidney Yin Deficiency

TCM S/S- Dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo, sore back, constipation, may also have empty heat signs, mallor flush, night sweats, heat in the 5 palms, insomnia, dry throat

Tongue- Red with little to no coat, may have horizontal cracks, red tip with empty fire

Pulse- Floating, empty, rapid, thin

Foods that help- Water, salty flavored food (miso, sea salt, tamari, sauerkraut), kidney shaped foods (black bean, kidney bean, most beans), blue and black foods (blueberries, mulberries, blackberries), seafood (fish, shrimp, seaweed), seeds (flax, pumpkins, sunflower, black sesame), and nuts (cashews, walnuts, chestnuts), bone marrow broth, grains (barley, millet), vegetables (asparagus, deep green leafy vegetables), fruits and melons

Foods to avoid- chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, basil, cloves, wasabi coffee, vinegar, pickles, tea lamb, shrimp, prawns, veal, game birds citrus fruits, cigarettes, alcohol and recreational stimulants

Other tips- Meditation, qi gong, tai qi, yoga

 ‘Temple Brand Phở’

Broth-
2″ nub of ginger, cut into 8 or 9 pieces
4 quarts of water
1 package of Pho Spices [3 cinnamon stick, 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds, 5 whole star anise, 1 cardamom pod, 6 whole cloves – in mesh bag]

Herbs- 1 piece of Korean ginseng, 1 piece of shu di huang, 15 grams of he shou wu, 15 grams of goji, 1 cup of longan (in mesh bag)

2 medium size carrots rough cut

1 medium size parsnips

2 cups of rough cut daikon radish

1 cup of blueberries

2 red pears cut into 8 pieces

1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons of vegetarian fish sauce

1 tablespoon of soy sauce (3 if no fish sauce)

2 tablespoons of cane sugar (to taste)

Sea salt (to taste)

Noodles-

1/2 pound dried flat rice noodles (known as bánh phở; use 1/16″, 1/8″, or 1/4″ width depending on availability and preference)

Toppings (optional)-
Protein such as fried or baked tofu, bean curd skin, soy, or seitan
Mushrooms
Vegetables such as bok choy, napa cabbage, carrots, parsnips, daikon radish or broccoli

Garnishes-
1 chile pepper (Thai bird, serrano, or jalapeño), sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 cup bean sprouts
Large handful of herbs: cilantro, Thai basil, cilantro/saw-leaf herb
Hoisin sauce, sriracha (optional)

For the broth
Char pears and ginger over an open flame (holding with tongs) or directly under a broiler until slightly blackened, about 5 minutes on each side. Rinse with water.

In a crock pot (ginseng and he shou wu can not be cooked in a metal pot), add all broth stock except for the 1 package of pho spices and herbs. Set crock pot for 4 hours. At 2 hours add pho spices package and herb bag. Season to taste strain and keep hot until ready to serve.

For the noodles
While broth is simmering, place noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for 20-30 minutes or until tender but still chewy. Drain. (If soaking does not soften the noodles enough, blanch them in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds.)

For the toppings (optional)

For more heat signs use plenty of bean sprouts and add sliced lotus root (steamed or blanched)
While broth is simmering, prepare toppings as desired – slice and cook tofu, lightly steam or blanch vegetables, etc. Toppings should be unseasoned or only lightly seasoned so as not to interfere with the flavor of the broth.

To serve
Divide noodles between two bowls. Arrange toppings over noodles. Ladle about 2 cups of broth into each bowl. Serve with garnishes on the side, which diners should add to taste.

Black bean soup for the kidney soul

 This week, IO prepared one of my personal favorites, black bean soup.  Who knew I was doing my kidneys such a favor when I seek out my obsession!  This recipe is simple, delectable, and can be made with just a few ingredients that most of us usually have in our pantries and refrigerators.  IO paired it with a yellow rice which made for a nice in-bowl combination!

 TCM DOS: Kidney yin deficiency

Western Dx: Low back pain

Tongue: Red, no coating, cracks

Pulse: Empty and rapid

Signs and Symptoms:

Dizziness, Poor memory, Dry mouth at night, Sore back, Dark-scanty urine, Vertigo,  Deafness, 5-palm heat, Ache in bones, Constipation, Tinnitus, Night sweating, Thirst, Nocturnal emissions

Foods that help this condition: wheat, oats, rice, millet, barley, eggs, dairy in moderate amounts, yogurt, tofu, tempeh, nuts & seeds, aduki beans, black beans, mung beans, black soy beans, kidney beans, black sesame seeds, pork, chicken, black boned chicken, duck, pigeon, eggs, organic bone marrow spanish mackerel, sardines, oysters, mussels, clams, cuttlefish, squid, perch, seaweeds, eel, bird’s nest soup, zucchini, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, melons, string beans, beets, button mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, apples, banana, blueberries, black berries, peaches, mulberries, mango, coconut olive oil, flaxseed oil, almond oil, kelp, spirulina

Foods to avoid in this condition: chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, basil, cloves, wasabi coffee, vinegar, pickles, tea, lamb, shrimp, prawns, veal, game birds, citrus fruits, cigarettes, alcohol, recreational stimulants

Meals should consist largely of easily digested complex carbohydrates like grains and starchy root vegetables, roughly 40% of your diet. About 40% of the diet should be comprised of cooked vegetables. Proteins should comprise only 10 – 20% of the diet. The diet should also include plenty of fluids, especially in the form of soups, and avoid overly hot, spicy meals.

Black Bean Soup

kd yin xu black beans

Just glowing with yin boosting properties!

Ingredients

1 Pound Black beans

1 Large white onion

1 Large green pepper (remove seeds)

1 Teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Soak black beans overnight, then boil with the whole onion and green pepper until tender ( about one hour). Remove onion and green pepper. Add cumin, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with white or yellow rice.

Beautiful black for the Water element, yummy yellow for the Earth!

Kidney boosting Barley!

M’s dish was a resounding success for several reasons–it was delicious (which is always first and foremost, let’s be real here!).  it was quite therapeutic for kidney yin xu, and most impressively, it entailed a host of ingredients that M had never worked with before.  You’d never guess it from the look and taste, though–this meal was a class act.  This straightforward dish epitomized the type of meal we strive to encourage our patients to prepare for themselves–organic, elegantly simple, and nourishing.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t indulge in a second helping (and maybe a third–I’m not telling!)

TCM DOS : Kidney Yin Deficiency

Western Correlation:  menopause, general aging

TCM s/s:  dizziness, tinnitus, dry mouth/throat, low back pain, knee pain, night sweats, 5 palm heat, tidal fever

Tongue = red w/ peeled or geographic coat; no coat

Pulse = thin, rapid

Recommended Foods:  millets, barley, tofu, string (green) bean, black bean, black soybean, mung bean & it’s sprouts, kidney beans and most other beans, kuzu root, watermelon and other melons, blackberry, mulberry, blueberry, huckleberry, carrots, water chestnuts, wheat germ, potato, seaweeds, spirulina, chlorella, black sesame seed, sardine, crab, clam, eggs, pork, and cheese

Foods to be avoided:  too much warming food such as coffee, alcohol, tobacco, lamb, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, & other hot spices.  It is best to avoid overeating.

Cooking Methods:  the cooling or Yin properties want to be preserved when preparing foods to benefit or supplement the Yin.  Steaming, water saute’, blanching and salting are recommended methods to promote the Yin qualities of food.  Be sure to use excess water with the cooking technique you choose.

Barley Stirfry

barley kidney yin xu

kidney yin xu barley

Forget poetry in motion--it's barley in motion!

 

Ingredients:

–       2 cups (hulled) barley

–       1 bag (16 oz.) organic green beans

–       1 bag (12 oz.) organic carrots

–       1/2 head of Chinese (Nappa) cabbage

–       1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts

–       Naturally brewed organic soy sauce (add as necessary)

–       Toasted sesame oil (add as necessary)

kidney yin xu barley

Add your own soy sauce, tamari, sesame oil, or Himalayan sea salt as needed--although it was divine as served!


Cooking methods:

–     All of the ingredients were steamed in a rice cooker last night.  They all had different steaming times ranging from 10 minutes for the water chestnuts and Chinese (Nappa) cabbage to 30-45 minutes for the barley, green beans and carrots.  I then mixed the ingredients together and refrigerated them.  I warmed them up on the hot plate in a wok using the soy sauce & sesame oil to add flavor and act as a warming medium.

Look at the picture....feel your kidneys growing in strength (and your mouth watering).

Foods to Tonify Kidney Yin

S.T. tackled KD yin xu this week, and her dishes scored a homerun (so good that it deserves mixed sports metaphors!)   Simple, elegant, comforting, and secretly therapeutic–exactly what a good meal should be.    We started with a beautiful refreshing salad, continued to a warm and fortifying soup, and for dessert we had some wonderful goji berries covered in–wait for it–chocolate! (because we would expect nothing less from S.T.).   Nettle tea proved to be a rich & tasty beverage, and let’s not forget what might have been the biggest hit, the roasted pumpkin seeds.  These little guys packed a BIG flavor punch and had all of us singing their praises the entirety of the afternoon!   So, without further ado, S.T.’s Kidney boosting recipes!

~~~~~~~~

 TCM Pattern:  Kidney Yin Deficiency

 
Western equivalent:    Aging –> Failing eyesight, hearing, tooth-loss, head hair loss; Weakness, frailness, aches & pains in bones & joints; Absent-mindedness, poor memory, dementia; Menopause/andropause; Apathy, exhaustion, fatigue; Chronic stress, anxiety; Congenital problems – poor growth & development; Excessive fear & insecurity; lack of will; Osteoporosis; Reproductive dysfunction
Signs & symptoms: dizziness, poor memory, dry mouth at night, sore (low) back & knees, dark, scanty urine, vertigo, deafness, 5-palm heat, ache in bones, constipation, tinnitus, night sweating, thirst, nocturnal emissions: Tongue: red, no coating/peeled, cracks; Pulse: empty, rapid
 
For Chinese Dietary Therapy, choose foods that are cooling, moistening, nourishing and enriching, and easy to digest. Eat smaller quantities frequently and regularly rather than large quantities irregularly. Get plenty of fluids, especially water. Avoid foods that are stimulating and overly hot and spicy, alcohol, recreational drugs.
 
Today’s menu:
Barley, Lentil & Vegetable Soup
Spinach-Pear Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt
Nettle Tea
Dark Chocolate coated Goji Berries

 
Recipes
 
Barley, Lentil & Vegetable Soup

 
5 cups water
1/2 cup organic pearl barley, washed and drained
1/4 cup dry, green lentils
1/2 cup diced onions
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup leeks, green and white part, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced, for garnish
 
Preparation: Place first three ingredients in a medium soup pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium-low and simmer 30 to 35 minutes. Add onion, celery and carrot. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add sea salt, cover and simmer another 10 minutes. Add the leeks, cover and simmer another 3 to 4 minutes. Serve garnished with parsley.
 
Spinach-Pear Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
6 ounces spinach
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
5 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp stone-ground mustard
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
¼ cup shaved Parmigiano cheese

Preparation: Combine pear slices and spinach in a large bowl. Whisk together water and next 6 ingredients. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad, and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.                       
 
Skillet-Toasted Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt


 
½ cup freshly shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
 
Preparation: Lightly coat shelled pumpkin seeds with olive oil. Place in warmed iron skillet, cover. Allow to warm and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Shake and stir seeds in skillet constantly as they are toasting to avoid burning. Brown to desired color. When they start popping, they are done.

 

And last but not least… goji berries for dessert! (original AND chocolate-covered ; )

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