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Chocolate Avocado Cookies

Chocolate Avocado Cookies

Prep

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Total

Yield 12 Cookies

Don't let the word avocado scare you here - they just replace butter (or margarine), and add a whole lot of yumminess and nutrients!

My 5-year-old told me that these are the "best cookies in the whole wide world" when I made them.

Try them for yourself!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup avocado flesh (very ripe, but not brown)
  • ½ cup honey OR coconut sugar 
  • 1 egg 
  • ½ cup dark cocoa powder
  • 50 g. dark chocolate chunks or chips
  • ½ tsp. baking soda

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a bowl using a hand mixer, mix together avocado and honey or coconut sugar until smooth. Add in the egg.
  3. Mix in the cocoa powder and baking soda - or better: blend everything together in a food processor, so easy.
  4. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  5. Using two spoons place dollops of cookie dough in a baking sheet with parchment paper. The cookie won't spread as much as usual cookies when baking, so make sure to flatten them out a bit with the back of the spoon.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies don't stick as much to the paper as they did before baking.
  7. Cool down. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Courses Snacks

Vegetable-Fried Quinoa

Vegetable-Fried Quinoa

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 Servings

If you like Chinese Food, you will love this one - full of hormone-loving veggies, fiber, and protein. My 5-year old couldn't get enough!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, divided
  • 2 Eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper and beaten
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 2 Carrots, grated
  • 1-2 Heads Baby Bok Choy, thinly sliced, keep stems and leaves separated
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-inch Piece of Fresh Ginger, grated
  • 1 Cup Finely Chopped Kale
  • Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Cups Previously Cooked Quinoa*
  • ½ Cup Frozen Peas
  • ½ Cup Frozen Sweet Corn
  • Soy Sauce (Wheat-Free or Tamari), or regular if not gluten-free

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of the coconut oil in a wok over high heat. Once it’s melted, pour in the beaten eggs and cook until the eggs are set, moving them gently. (You’re just making scrambled eggs here). Remove the eggs from the wok into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of the coconut oil into the hot wok and once it’s melted add in the onion, carrots, and bok choy stems. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes or until the veggies gain some color and soften. Add in the garlic and grated ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  3. Add in the bok choy leaves and kale and stir-fry until they wilt down. Season the mix with salt and pepper. Remove the veggies to the large bowl with the eggs and set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil over high heat. Once it’s melted add in the cooked quinoa. Stir-fry the quinoa for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add in the frozen peas and corn and mix well. Then, toss in the vegetables and egg. Mix until well combined and then turn off the heat.
  6. Stir in soy sauce –maybe 2 Tbsp. Then, when I serve it I top it with more soy sauce.

Courses Supper

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 Servings

This is a great lunch to have at home or take to work with you!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 cup chopped olives (Kalamatra, or other)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
For the Lemon Oregano Dressing
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice and finely minced zest of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring the water, salt and quinoa to a boil over low heat.
  2. Cover and simmer slowly for 15 to 20 minutes until the grains are cooked but still a little firm to the bite.
  3. Remove from heat and add the tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, olives and green onion.
  4. Toss everything together with the Lemon Oregano Dressing.
For the Lemon Oregano Dressing
  1. Whisk together the olive oil, honey, lemon zest, oregano, salt and pepper.
  2. Pour over the salad while warm and toss very well.

Courses Lunch

Wild Rice Burrito Bowl

Wild Rice Burrito Bowl

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 1 Bowl

This is a delicious, easy supper you can throw together on a nice warm summer night.

Ingredients

For the burrito bowl
  • 1½ heaping cups iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • ½ cup cooked wild rice
Optional Toppings:
  • 2 tbsp salsa
  • 2 tbsp corn
  • 2 tbsp refried beans
  • ¼ avocado, sliced or diced
  • roasted chickpeas
  • roasted sweet potatoes
For the dressing:
  • ¾ cup almond milk* (I used Almond Breeze® Unsweetened Original)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp lime zest
  • ¼ tsp each salt, freshly ground pepper, ground cumin and chili powder

Instructions

To assemble the bowl:
  1. Add the lettuce to the bottom of a serving bowl, add rice and other desired toppings then drizzle with cilantro-lime avocado dressing.
For the dressing:
  1. In a blender, combine Almond Breeze, olive oil, avocado, green onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, lime zest, salt, pepper and cumin; blend until smooth. Refrigerate until serving.

Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas by Marie Tower at marietower.com

*I baked sweet potatoes and chickpeas in the oven before I put the bowl together. Just chop up a sweet potato, rinse your chickpeas and pat dry, then throw them all on a cookie sheet with a little olive oil and sea salt and bake until done!

Notes

 If you prefer a thicker dressing, start with ⅔ cup of almond milk and add more until desired consistency is reached

Courses Supper

Superfood Quinoa Bowl

Superfood Quinoa Bowl

Prep

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Total

Yield 2-4 Servings

The picture definitely doesn't do it justice, but this bowl was quick, easy and very good! I used whatever veggies I happened to have in the fridge, including cabbage to create even happier hormones. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry mixed colored quinoa I like the TruRoots brand (prepare per instructions on package)
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli (frozen is ok to use)
  • 1/2 chopped red onion
  • 1/2 chopped red bell pepper
  • 3-4 cup baby kale (remove any large stems)

Dressing:

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard (regular or Dijon)
  • 1/2 a lime squeezed
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare your quinoa according to directions on your package (mine was 1 cup dry to 2 cups water, brought to a boil and covered and left to simmer for 18 minutes)
  2. While quinoa is cooking add your chopped broccoli, onion, pepper to a skillet pan (sprayed with non-stick spray first) and let cook on medium to high heat for about 12 minutes stirring frequently, then add your kale to the sauté pan with veggies for 1-2 minutes stirring until kale is wilted down.
  3. Prepare dressing by adding olive oil, onion powder, mustard, lime juice, salt and pepper to a bowl and whisking it together, set aside
  4. Once quinoa and veggies are cooked, serve separated like picture above or toss everything in a large mixing bowl and stir in the dressing!
  5. Serve 2 large meals sizes or 4 small side dishes

Courses Dinner

Banana Rhubarb Bread

Banana Rhubarb Bread

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 1 Loaf

This is a fun, and yummy spin on the classic banana bread - and it was a huge hit in my house! 

Ingredients

  •  cups whole wheat flour spelt flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon all spice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large bananas mashed (this should be over 1 cup)
  •  cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 cup finely chopped rhubarb about 1 large stalk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and prepare an 8x4" loaf pan** with oil.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda salt and all spice, in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. ***Use a stand or hand-held mixer to beat eggs on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Mix in vanilla, banana and honey until combined.
  4. Slowly add in the flour mixture and stir on low speed until just combined. Gently fold in rhubarb. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until loaf is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes. Loosen sides with a knife and remove from pan. Enjoy!

*Try throwing in some walnuts or pecans if you like a little added crunch!

Courses Snacks

When it comes to hormone health, picking key foods that have multiple benefits for balancing hormones is helpful. Schizandra berry is just such as a food and may be a true anti-aging food as well.

In China it is known as a five-flavor fruit,” because it contains the flavours sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent which, in TCM, all represent various health properties. This may also explain its funky taste.

Research has confirmed that compounds found in the berries, called schisandrins, help with supporting nervous system issues, liver issues and coughs. Much of this research, which includes controlled clinical studies with humans, is in China, unfortunately.

Even more specifically, with regard to supporting the nervous system, animal studies have found that schizandra can counter the stimulating effect of caffeine.

Taking schizandra, while either cutting down on coffee or going cold turkey, lessens the nervous, shaky and anxious symptoms that come with withdrawal. It also helps keep the blood sugar stable and lessens the severity of the headache that always accompanies caffeine withdrawal

It further supports the nervous system by supporting the adrenals. It is a known adrenal adaptagen, making it a perfect food for the body during times of stress.

As for the liver, schizandra can protect it from toxic substances in a similar manner to milk thistle, the most well-known liver protective supplement. It may be helpful in the recovery from hepatitis and acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory to help protect the liver. One double-blind placebo study looked at 12 racehorses, all of similar age, weight, temperament and training and all with high liver enzymes and low performance issues. After fourteen days, the horses on schizandra, had lower liver enzymes in comparison to the placebo. Fifty percent of the horses on schizandra also had improved appearance and performance. And while we are not race horses, we certainly often conduct our lives like we are so some schizandra could really help us with our performance issues.

Digestively, it may be helpful for proper peristalsis (gastric muscle contractions), stress-induced gastric ulcers and regulating stomach acid. It can also help with diarrhea.

But for many of us, the number one benefit for schizandra may be the research that states it has anti-aging properties. This would include the fact that it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities, two important elements in preventing age-associated issues.  Studies have also shown it may help with age-related memory loss, and act as a tonic for the heart. It can supply us with more energy, help with depression and help support the immune system.

And finally, for the vanity in all of us, schizandra may help our appearance by giving us a clearer complexion, improved skin elasticity and diminished the appearance of scars or wrinkles. Does it get any better than that?

What is the issue? Getting a good source of the product may be difficult. Nature’s Way has  a great capsule that is available in the US only right now. St Francis makes a good tincture. Organic Traditions has a dehydrated powder in a jar that is 6x concentrated. You can also find loose berries in health food or Asian stores. These can be ground in a coffee grinder and added to a smoothie or made into a tea.

 

If buying a supplement, watch out for standardized extracts. Although many science types might recommend this as the preferred version, a standardized extract is usually just one phytochemical found in a plant and does not represent all the chemicals found in the whole plant or in this case, the berry. There are 40 different phytochemical compounds in schizandra – there would have to be for it to do all the amazing things it is credited for. This is what we should be consuming – the whole berry – if we want to get the most from it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Hancke, J., et al. “Reduction of serum hepatic transaminases and CPK in sport horses with poor performance treated with a standardized Schisandra chinensis fruit extract.” Phytomedicine 1996, 3 (3):237–240.

Ip, S. P., et al. “Effect of a lignan-enriched extract of Schisandra chinensis on aflatoxin B1 and cadmium chloride-induced hepatotoxicity in rats.” Pharmacology and Toxicology 1996, 78 (6):413–416.

Ko, K. M., et al. “Effect of a lignan-enriched fructus Schisandra extract on hepatic glutathione status in rats: Protection against carbon tetrachloride toxicity.” Planta Medica 1995, 61 (2): 134–137.

Lu, H., and G. T. Liu. “Anti-oxidant activity of dibenzocyclooctene lignans isolated from Schisandraceae.”Planta Medica 1992, 58 (4):311–313.

Nishiyama, N., Y. L. Wang, and H. Saito. “Beneficial effects of S-113m, a novel herbal prescription, on learning impairment model in mice.” Biological Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1995, 18 (11):1498–1503. Song, W. Z., and P. G. Xiao. “Medicinal plants of Chinese Schisandraceae and their lignan components.” Chinese Traditional and Herbal Drugs 1982, 13 (1):40–48.

 

 

 

 

 

Thai Quinoa Salad

Thai Quinoa Salad

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 6 Servings

A delicious lunch or dinner, I make this one often in my house!

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 heaping cup red cabbage , shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper , diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion , chopped
  • 1 cup carrots , shredded
  • 1 cup edamame , shelled
  • ½ cup cilantro , chopped
  • 2 green onions , chopped
  • ½ cup cashew halves
For the dressing:
  • ¼ cup peanut butter , crunchy or smooth
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3 Tbsp tamari sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha hot sauce (optional)
  • Water to thin if necessary

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. You should have a little over 2 cups of quinoa.
For the dressing:
  1. Add peanut butter and honey to a microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for 10-20. Stir until smooth. 

  2. Add in ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, olive oil and sriracha and stir until smooth and creamy. 

  3. If necessary, thin the dressing by adding a little more olive oil or some water. Taste and add more hot sauce, if desired.

  4. Drizzle half of the dressing over the cooked and cooled quinoa. Toss to combine.
  5. In a large bowl combine the red pepper, onion, cabbage, carrots, edamame, and cilantro. 

  6. Fold in the quinoa. Add as much of the remaining dressing as you'd like (to taste). Add cashews and garnish with green onions. Enjoy.

Courses Lunch

Sweet Potato Taco Bowl

Sweet Potato Taco Bowl

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 Servings

After running my power bowl program recently for the 4th year in a row, I am even more addicted to having my meals in a bowl. Nothing beats it, and this recipe was a hit with my whole family!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika (feel free to use hot smoked paprika if you like extra spicy)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne powder (optional, very spicy)
  • 1 lb  sweet potatoes, peeled and copped into 1-2" cubes (approx.)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn, either from can or 2 ears of corn (shucked and kernels removed from ear)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved OR 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced

Optional:

I added brown rice in my kids bowls to make it extra filling, they loved it! For mine, I threw some mixed greens in the bottom of the bowl.

I also added Salsa on top.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

  2. In a small bowl mix together chilli powder, paprika, cumin, salt, oregano, garlic power, onion powder, and cayenne pepper (if using).

  3. Toss sweet potatoes pieces with vegetable oil and half the seasoning mixture from the small bowl, about 2 tablespoons. Bake for 15-20 minutes until tender and cooked through.

  4. Meanwhile, cook beef over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes until cooked through. If necessary, drain any large quantities of fat from skillet, leaving about 1 tablespoon. Add beans and remaining seasoning mixture from the small bowl. Toss to fully coat beans and beef with seasoning. Continue to cook until beans are heated through.

  5. To serve either place all ingredients in separate dishes for family style serving, or make individual bowls before serving table.

  6. Serve with any desired optional garnishes (Greek yogurt, jalapeños, sliced green onion, chopped cilantro leaves, lime slices, crumbles feta, salsa etc.).

Courses Supper

Gluten Free Chocolate Banana Bread

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 1 Loaf

Ok, honestly this is probably THE BEST banana bread I've ever had - and it's gluten free! 

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour 
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 large ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cups mashed)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Heat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the flax seed meal and water. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork. Add the melted coconut oil and stir until combined. Add in the coconut sugar, flaxseed mixture, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, don’t overmix. Stir in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the top of the bread. Bake for 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out mostly clean, you might have some melted chocolate chips on the toothpick and that is fine. You just don’t want a lot of gooey batter on the toothpick.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and set on a wire cooling rack. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the bread and carefully remove from the pan. Let the bread cool on the wire cooling rack. Cut into slices and serve.

Notes

The bread will keep on the counter, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 4 days. This bread also freezes well. To freeze, cool the bread completely and wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost before slicing.

 

Gluten Free Chocolate Banana Bread by Marie Tower at Marietower.com

Courses Snack

Chocolate Avocado Cookies

PrintChocolate Avocado CookiesPrep 10 minsCook 10 minsTotal 20 minsYield 12 Cookies Don't let the word avocado scare you here - they just replace butter (or margarine), and add a whole lot of yumminess and nutrients! My 5-year-old told me that these are the "best cookies in the whole wide world" when I made them. Try [...]

Vegetable-Fried Quinoa

PrintVegetable-Fried QuinoaPrep 10 minsCook 10 minsTotal 20 minsYield 4 Servings If you like Chinese Food, you will love this one - full of hormone-loving veggies, fiber, and protein. My 5-year old couldn't get enough! Ingredients2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, divided2 Eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper and beaten1 Small Onion, chopped2 Carrots, grated1-2 Heads Baby Bok Choy, thinly sliced, keep stems [...]

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

PrintMediterranean Quinoa SaladPrep 10 minsCook 20 minsTotal 30 minsYield 4 Servings This is a great lunch to have at home or take to work with you! Ingredients 1 cup quinoa 1/2 tsp salt 1 1/2 cups water 2 diced tomatoes 1 cup diced bell peppers 1 cup diced cucumber 1 cup chopped olives (Kalamatra, or other) 1/4 cup chopped green onion For the Lemon Oregano Dressing 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil [...]

Wild Rice Burrito Bowl

PrintWild Rice Burrito BowlPrep 15 minsCook 25 minsTotal 40 minsYield 1 Bowl This is a delicious, easy supper you can throw together on a nice warm summer night. IngredientsFor the burrito bowl1½ heaping cups iceberg lettuce, chopped½ cup cooked wild riceOptional Toppings:2 tbsp salsa2 tbsp corn2 tbsp refried beans¼ avocado, sliced or dicedroasted chickpeasroasted sweet [...]

Superfood Quinoa Bowl

PrintSuperfood Quinoa BowlPrep 15 minsCook 20 minsTotal 35 minsYield 2-4 Servings The picture definitely doesn't do it justice, but this bowl was quick, easy and very good! I used whatever veggies I happened to have in the fridge, including cabbage to create even happier hormones. :) Ingredients1 cup dry mixed colored quinoa I like the [...]