#HappyHolidays Blog Carnival Recipe: Red Pepper Salad

tostada_red_pepper_salad_watermark_closeup_largeToday’s recipe is from a very different and special blog.  I somehow came across a blogger who conducts not only culinary tours of Crete, Greece, but GLUTEN FREE culinary tours of Crete, Greece!  Oh lawd!!!  I had the opportunity to visit Crete when I was a teen and have talked about it many times to my little one, telling her how beautiful this place was.  Hadassah of Food Tours in Greece provides us with todays recipe.  Visit her blog for your own virtual culinary tour of Crete, and check out the upcoming tours while you’re there.

#HealthyHolidays Blog Carnival Recipe: Sautéed Sweet Potatoes

Christinas Sweet-potatoe-sauteeIf you haven’t met Christina of A Soulful Twist, get to know her and her cooking with today’s recipe, sautéed sweet potatoes, lightened up.  Christina has a wonderfully informative bio on her blog which left me feeling like, yeah, we could be friends.  I enjoyed getting to know her virtually.  Let her know what you think of her blog.  I’ve discovered lots of good recipes there, and I’m lovin’ it!

#HealthyHolidays Recipes for a Vegan Holiday

vegan dishA few months ago I had the privilege of getting acquainted with a cousin I’d only met once, when she was about 3 days old. While in Harlem for the Blogging While Brown conference, I got the chance to spend some time with my cousin Zahra, blogger for The Natural Journey for Life.  She’s all grown up now, and as fly as can be. It turned out we had quite a bit in common – a love for good healthy food, natural hair, and blogging. Be sure to stop by her blog for a few vegan holiday recipes and lots of natural healthy living advice.cousins

#HealthyHolidays Recipe Blog Carnival – Yummy Yam Mash

As part of the #healthyholidays blog carnival, and because hubby came home with these big azz yams, I thought I’d revise my usual Hennessy sweet potato recipe.
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This will work with either yams or sweet potatoes, but I did exchange the Hennessey for my new love, coconut butter, a healthy fat that is converted to energy rather than stored as fat.
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And I exchanged butter for my other new love, ghee, for it’s health benefits AND taste. Calling all butter lovers! Ghee has the milk protein casein removed, is high in vitamins A, D, E, and K, and may protect from cancer.
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Didn’t miss the Hennessy a bit. Hubby asked “what did you put in those yams???” My reply… “My foot.” This was so good that I declined a bowl of ice cream and opted for a second helping of yummy yams for dessert instead.

1 large yam
1 tablespoon coconut butter
1 tablespoon ghee
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of kosher or sea salt

Poke several holes in the yam and
-microwave until soft in the center (maybe 10 minutes)
-or wrap in foil and bake until tender (maybe 30 minutes at 350).

Peel the yam and place in a bowl with remaining ingredients. Beat with a hand mixer or stick blender until smooth. 20131124-210902.jpg

Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Serve while hot and watch them smile! Serves 4.

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Black Girls Juicing for Health – Our 3 Day Cleanse

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Willette, Nicole, Kareen, Kelly, Carla, La’Tila

A couple of months ago I did a post on my green smoothie party.  It was really nice to get some sistas together for a healthy cause.  This month, which at Soul Food Therapy is Juicy June, we were inspired by Kareen of I am Eating Right to do a 3 day juice fast/cleanse/detox.  When this was mentioned on the facebook page, the response was amazing.  Many of you have requested to join in, and I am so thankful to have you along for the health ride!  Kareen shared how she was inspired to do a 60 day juice fast/feast (and lost 40 pounds) after watching the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, which you can watch at the end of this post.  Below, I’m sharing a list of a few juicing sistas I’ve found on the net who we will use as resources to guide us along in this fast.  All this stuff about us being the most obese, least healthy – I’m choosing not to focus on that.  Instead, I’m enjoying seeing my sistas make healthy choices AND educate others on doing the same.  Take a look at the links below and let me know what you think.  Have you used any of their services?

Our Juicy June 3 day juice cleanse starts Thursday June 13.  If you would like to join us simply make your request to join in the comments below and the details will be emailed to you.  We will utilize the services of the following:

1. Kareen of I am Eating Right – creator of The Juicy Life series of 15 videos on juicing 101 – watch the series so you’ll be well prepared.  Here is video #1.

2. Willette of WillHealthy – detox and cleansing coach extraordinaire – Willette will prepare and ship your juices if you’d rather not make them yourself.  Join me and Willette on Tuesday evening (June 11) at 6:30pm PST, 8:30 central, 9:30 EST for a brief pre-cleanse Q&A session about detoxing and cleansing.  You must join the Soul Food Therapy circle in Google + first.  Second, download the Google Hangout app.  And third,  check your email for a link to get into the hangout a few minutes ahead of time.  If you must join by phone rather than video, visit the facebook page and leave a private message with your phone number at least an hour before the session.

3. Nicole of The Sweeter the Juice – fabulous FREE ebook of juice recipes – download her ebook to use during the fast.  Choose which juices you would like to drink, making sure to include the recipes containing leafy greens.

4.   Carla of Raw Raw Life – raw food blogger with an extensive supply of raw, vegan, juice and smoothie recipes, videos and ebooks – Visit Carla for her grocery list as a guideline to make sure you are well stocked and ready to go.  Also, Carla has juicing ebooks as well – more recipes for you to choose from.

We will not use the following services but I certainly wanted to let you know about these juicing sistas in case they are in your area.

5. La’Tlia of Juicy’s Flavor – juice bar and products sold in multiple Virginia locations

6. Kelly of Juice Hugger – 1/2 of a duo with a cafe in Brooklyn and a huge selection of products online

Do you have a link to add?  If so, please leave that info in the comments section.  Now let’s get busy juicing!

Soul Food Junkies – Do They Run in Your Family?

After years of research, filmmaker Byron Hurt blessed us with the documentary Soul Food Junkies, which tells the story of his father’s love affair with soul food and eventual death, likely related to an overall unhealthy diet.  This story is exactly why I do what I do. I know first hand what it’s like to have family members addicted to unhealthy eating. In fact, I inherited the trait.

Did you catch my Krispy Kreme Testimony? Well it didn’t start there.  I remember my mother telling the story of how the neighborhood doughnut shop used to give her a courtesy call at her request each morning at around 4am to inform her that the doughnuts were hot and ready to be picked up. Sound familiar? She told me she would get three dozen; one for her, one for my dad, and one for us 3 kids to share. Damn shame, huh?

At some point during the documentary Byron touched on the fact that the comfort his dad got through soul food was likely his way of escaping the pain of the loss of his first born son. I, too, know the comfort of food after losing a child. That’s exactly how Sweet Tooth Therapy was born. Fortunately for me, I was able to catch myself after gaining 12 pounds and switch from baking and eating for comfort to baking and selling.

If you ever watch The Biggest Loser, you may notice a common thread, other than obesity. My hubby would watch the show and say “wow, he really loves food.” And I’d always say “no, he’s loving the comfort the food is giving him in the midst of some deep pain or void.” And sure enough, somewhere during the season, Each contestants’ demon is revealed. Molestation, rejection, secret homosexuality, abuse, loss of a child, parent or spouse; something devastating is usually brought to the surface.

Myles Munroe was the first person I ever heard say “when you don’t know the purpose of a thing, you abuse it.” And that’s exactly what soul food junkies do. And all other food junkies for that matter.
It’s a combination of food abuse and self abuse. The ethnicity of the food has nothing to do with it. For me it was sweets. For my mom it was good food, period. For Byron’s dad, it was soul food and fast food. It’s interesting how food abusers are often seen as food lovers. it’s like a person can abuse another person and the one being abused can actually think they’re being loved.  When you really love food, you’re too selective to eat just any and everything. And when you are loving yourself, you only eat what you need and no more. When it slips over into greed and gluttony, there is no love in that neighborhood. I’m just sayin’.

If you find that you’re abusing, or neglecting yourself by habitually overeating and having an unhealthy diet, the main thing is to fix what’s eating you, and then you can fix what you’re eating. When you try a new diet and don’t deal with the real internal issue, you’re just putting a bandaid on a deep, infected wound. You deserve better treatment than that.

I thank Byron Hurt for sharing his father’s story. I know it will get the attention of someone who is self medicating with food, and hopefully cause them to take notice before it’s too late.

Have you ever felt out of control or like a food junkie? If so, what, if anything, did you do to turn it around? Do you, or someone you know need prayer in this area?

You can watch Soul Food Junkies online until January 22, or purchase the DVD.

In Honor of Syliva Woods, Queen of Soul Food

I’ve been busy but I couldn’t let another day go by without acknowledging my appreciation and admiration for Sylvia Woods.

The world recently bid farewell to the matriarch of the first family of soul food, Sylvia of Sylvia’s restaurant and soul food product line.  As you may or may not have learned, Mrs. Woods transitioned out of this life earlier this month after 86 years of service.

I truly admire Mrs. Woods for being a dreamer, and a doer.  So many of us have dreams, but very few actually put in the work and faith that’s required to birth that dream into reality.  I’ve heard people actually say “Sylivia’s wasn’t the best soul food I ever had”.  Maybe not for them, but she was the one who believed in herself and her dream enough to have them come check out what she was up to, and that’s saying a lot.

I did have the pleasure of visiting the former Atlanta location of Sylvia’s.  But what I find most impressive is the product line found in grocery stores from coast to coast. A canned vegetable line, a variety of spices, mixes, dessert products.  Honey, this lady was the beez knees.  With her enterprising spirit, Sylvia has done what many people only wish of doing – She left an inheritance to her children’s children’s children.  Can you get any more honorable than that?  And from the looks of this pic, Mrs. Woods was fly too.

 
My thanks to Sylvia is not just for her contribution to my culinary heritage, but also for her huge dreaming spirit.  I’m sure this is exactly what Marianne Williamson meant in her famous poem – She let her light shine giving others permission to do the same.  A million thanks to you, Mrs. Woods.