Stacy McCann’s Buffalo-Style Quinoa Chili, via Food52

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By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

It was another one of those days where I was stuck on what I could make for dinner.  I knew we couldn’t go out to eat – it was Sunday in Ocala.  During the week, our options are limited enough.  On Sunday, they are much worse.

To add to my lack of inspiration, our Michigan State Spartans had just lost their game in the NCAA basketball tournament.  I was hoping we were going to make trip to Dallas for the Final Four Tournament, but we were 6 points shy.  They had an incredible season though – very happy for them!

So I was determined to come up with something new and tasty – for Mike as well.  The end of college football for the season is a hard day, as is the end of the college basketball tournament season… only for  Mike and I, mind you. The girls could care less!  Occasionally they will show interest, but only to cheer for whatever team Michigan State is playing.

I knew this called for something special, so I went to one of my trusted sources for recipes, Food52.  I had just received an email from them about a variety of ideas for using quinoa, so I thought I would scan through them.

Glad I did – I found quite a few that I want to try, Toasted Almond and Coconut Quinoa Porridge being one of them.

But the one that caught my eye for dinner was the Buffalo-Style Quinoa Chili.

I did make a few adaptations.  Rather than putting in just one 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, I used almost the whole 28 oz can.  Instead of the hominy, I used one 15 oz bag of frozen organic corn.  I didn’t have any hot sauce on hand so I just left it out of the recipe (which works just fine for us who are a little shy about hot stuff).  And, finally, I opted out of the blue cheese – not a big fan of blue cheese, and we’re not doing a whole lot of dairy over here anyway.  I do think some sort of cheese on top would be good though, if you can do cheese – maybe some freshly shaved parmesan, goat, or feta cheese.

Anyway, it turned out great – it had a light smoky flavor from the smoked paprika, and a variety of textures with the beans, quinoa, corn, and tomatoes.  And, it was nice and filling.

Had I planned ahead, I would have had a side of gluten-free corn bread, but didn’t think of that until it was too late.  It would have made a great addition.  Since I didn’t have any corn bread, I just took some gluten-free bread, buttered both sides and grilled it in a pan.  That always works out nicely in a pinch as well.  Speaking of pinches, I always put a pinch of sea salt (Maldon’s of course) on my bread when I’m grilling it.

This recipe is a definite keeper.  I knew I could count on Food52!

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Food Matters TV

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

I am SOOO excited about this new discovery – well, it’s new to me, anyway!

Thank you to Nick Ornter, from the Tapping Solution, for letting me know about it. It’s called FMTV, and for a minimal cost ($7.95/month or $79/year), you have access to all sorts of films and documentaries in the areas of inspiration, health and wellness, food and nutrition, detox and weight loss, vegetarian and vegan, green living and permaculture, pregnancy and birth, GMOs and agribusiness, Big Pharma and psychiatry, mind and body, cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes, and finally, depression and mental health!

Plus, I now have access to all kind of new healthy recipes – smoothies, juices, teas, snacks, main meals, and more!

When I explored further, I found extended interviews with people I love, like Kris Carr (“Crazy, Sexy, Diet”), Charlotte Gerson (“Gerson Therapy”), and David Wolfe (a raw foods and superfoods expert), to name a few. And, there’s a section for exercise featuring yoga and Foundation Training videos, along with “Hungry For Change Mastery,” which is an expansion of the well-known (and well-loved) “Hungry for Change.”

Did I tell you how excited I am? I don’t know where to begin!

As I scan the available films, I see a ton I want to watch, but I think I’ll put on the top of my list “Spontaneous Evolution” with Bruce Lipton, Ph.D.

I didn’t even know he had this film out – he wrote one of my favorite books, “The Biology of Belief,” and was talking about the science behind how your thoughts and beliefs can turn on and off your genes, years before others started talking about it.

“Ingredients” will probably be my next film. Watch the trailer here. It’s about the grass roots movement back to local farming and knowing where your food comes from. It will be very inspiring especially for me and the orchard :)

Then I will probably watch “Feed Your Head.” I hadn’t even heard of this one before, but here’s the trailer for it:

It talks about mental illness and its relation to food and nutrition. As you can see, I’m pretty geeked about this (heavy on the “geek”), and I just wanted to share this great resource with all of you.

Check it out and see for yourself – even if it’s only for a couple of months – it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than going to college, and I bet you’ll get a lot more out of it!

The Spleen – Its Role May Surprise You!

I had another appointment with the acupuncturist and BodyTalk practitioner today. One of the things that keeps popping up from her evaluation is my spleen. Apparently, my spleen is “clogged,” or weak, in terms of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

This little bit of information has sent me on an interesting journey in a short time.

I wanted to know what I could do to support the spleen. What I found was extremely interesting – and some of it was even fun, like this video put together by some Harvard Medical School students. They actually did a really good job!

So according to Western Medicine, the spleen filters the blood and is involved with the production and destruction of red blood cells. However, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the spleen is the main organ for digestion and extracting nourishment from our food.

But if you dig a little deeper, there’s an emotional component to the spleen in TCM. Thinking and digestion are very similar, and interestingly, the spleen adapts both food and information into something we can use. The spleen needs to process information, and in our information-overloaded society, the spleen is definitely stressed and depleted.

Here is a really great article that explains the spleen in terms of TCM.

After reading it, here are two beliefs I am working on for myself, both in terms of actual food and “emotional” food:

-I completely deserve physical nourishment. I trust there will always be enough nourishment available. What foods support the spleen? Apparently, all sorts of root vegetables – squash, carrots, potatoes, yams, turnips, and onions. Brown rice, butter, almonds, ginger, garlic, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg are also supportive. Warm lemon water will be good for the spleen, while chilled water should be avoided. This is really fascinating stuff for me!

-I know that “digesting” emotions and situations has been a challenge for me over the years. One thing I have been working on is to be able to take in a situation (eat food), learn from it (digest it), then let go what doesn’t serve me (elimination). I think years of worrying about what others think of me as well as overanalyzing situations has taken its toll on my spleen.

Let the healing begin :)

Thistly Cross Hard Cider and the HITS $1 Million Grand Prix

IMG_0278So, I apologize – I was a little distracted today.  Here in Ocala, Florida, we have a horse show called HITS (Horses in the Sun) every year starting in January.  Thousands of horses and riders come in from all over the world (New Zealand, Brazil, England…) to compete in one of the largest horse jumping shows in the country each year.  Yesterday was the last day of regular competition and tonight was the $1 Million Grand Prix competition.  I was excited to go and see such amazing athletes – both horses and riders.

The jumps are crazy high – taller than me!  And the turnout for the event was huge.  Big news and big times for us here in Ocala.

I love watching the competition at this level.  These are serious athletes and they respect their horses and treat them extremely well.  What amazes me is the trust that must be present between horse and rider for this level of competition.  The rider knows the sequence of the jumps for the course, but the horse doesn’t.  So the horse has to totally trust the rider – and the rider has to totally trust the horse.  The team work is so beautiful to watch and I love to watch the horses – especially when they know they have done well – they know it and they look so proud.  And every now and then when you see a horse complete a course without knocking any of the rails down, they will let out a little “kick” or “buck” in celebration.  It always inspires me to ride my own horses – not that I jump…that is not my sport.  Too far off the ground for me!

So where does food play into this?  Well, of course, they had special tents with food, but they also had a few “tailgates” set up.  It was quite an event for Ocala, and there was some drinking going on as well.  I didn’t bother to get anything to drink at the show, however.  I wanted to wait until we got home to have one of my favorite hard ciders, Thistly Cross Cider.

IMG_0276This hard cider is from Scotland, and if you ever see it, give it a swig.  I found it at Whole Foods in Orlando, Florida.  As I do my “research” for the various tastes of hard cider, I like to try cider from all over the world.  I’m finding that I don’t like a cider that is too sweet or too dry.  I but the more hard ciders I try, I find myself leaning towards those that aren’t so sweet.  I love learning about what kinds of apples are used and how the process occurs.  My intent is to make hard cider from our apples at our orchard in the near future.

Which is your favorite hard cider?