Skip to content

Ashley’s 37 week Lentil and Kale Dal

November 17, 2013

Thank you to Ashley for the amazing lunch and for sharing her recipe for the most yummy lentil and kale dal:

As we’ve been preparing for the arrival of our bebit@ who will be with us shortly, I’ve been busy cooking and stocking the freezer with nutritious and hearty meals for some easy –to-reheat post-partum goodness.

Lentil and Kale Dal

Maria was here yesterday for our 37-week home visit and I had just made a large batch of lentil dal with kale based off of a recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook.  We ate a yummy lunch, and I will be freezing the rest of the batch. I love both lentils and kale, and this recipe is simple and quick for a warm and hearty winter meal.

Lentil and Kale Dal


1.5 cups lentils (I used red lentil, but any type would be fine)

4 cups water

2-5 dried chilis

¼ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil


½ teaspoon cumin

1 cup onions, chopped

1 teaspoon ginger root, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon garam masala (or other masala blend)

4-5 cups of kale, chopped (spinach or other leafy greens can be used as well)

salt to taste

1.     Rinse the lentils.  In a pot, mix the lentils, water, chilis, turmeric, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for approx.. 30 minutes or until lentils are soft.

2.     While the lentils cook, heat the ghee or oil in another pan.  Add the cumin and cook for 15 seconds.  Then add onions and ginger and cook for 5-10 minutes until the onions are soft and a little brown.

3.     When the lentils are soft, remove the chilis, and add the kale.  Stir until the kale softens.

4.     Stir into the mixture, the onion mixture, lemon juice, masala, and salt to taste.

5.     I like to serve the lentils with garlic naan (I cheat and buy the packaged naan from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods)


A Paleo Bread by Marci Riseman

September 17, 2013
Marci's Paleo Bread
My eleven-year-old son has celiac disease; he was diagnosed when he was six. I’d been an avid baker and it took me the better part of a year to get the hang of baking gluten-free–but once I did, I had a great repertoire of recipes to replace the gluten-y recipes I could no longer use. So when my son’s doctor recommended the paleo diet (no grains, legumes, or dairy) to remedy our son’s chronic anemia and other health issues, I was dismayed. First no wheat recipes; now no more grain recipes of any kind?! My son was dismayed too, both to be so different from his peers and to have to avoid all the foods they brought to school. I decided to find a paleo sandwich bread, because school lunches just aren’t the same without an occasional sandwich. My first few attempts (using coconut flour and almond flour) ranged from somewhat edible to, as my seven-year-old said, “horrid.” When I found a strange-sounding recipe on the blog Against All Grain (now my favorite grain-free blog), I didn’t realize I’d found the staple that we’d depend on always. The ingredients are unexpected, and the “dough” is more of a batter–but the bread is a delight, moist and flavorful and able to hold up to any sandwich filling. With just a few modifications from the original, the recipe appears below.
And yes, the paleo diet eliminated my son’s lifelong anemia, in just three months! We are sticking with the diet and I hope to post more grain-free recipes here over time.

Sandwich Bread

Adapted from Against All Grain


            1 cup Artisana cashew butter

            4 eggs

            1 tsp honey

            1 T apple cider vinegar

            ¼ cup coconut milk

            ¼ cup coconut flour

            1 tsp baking soda

            ½ tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Line bottom of loaf pan with parchment and spray with coconut oil.
  3. Sift coconut flour with baking soda. Add salt and stir to bombine.
  4. Separate eggs: whites into one large mixing bowl and yolks into another.
  5. Beat whites until stiff peaks form.
  6. Add the cashew butter, honey, and vinegar to the egg yolks and beat to combine. Slowly add the coconut milk and blend.
  7. Mix the egg whites into the cashew mixture only until blended. Add dry ingredients until blended.
  8. Pour mixture into pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

The Sweetness of Soured Milk: Making Your Own Kefir, Buttermilk and Sour Cream by Louella Hill

May 23, 2013

Louella 2 web  Alli with babies web     Spoons web

Many of the foods you find in the supermarket today are modern foods–foods that humans have only recently started eating. Think of how we’ve tinkered with so many foods; stripping grains, bleaching sugars, emulsifying liquids. Think of how many foods we can buy today that our great grandparents had never heard of. Even the foods we might considered simple and unadulterated–a jug of milk, a bag of salad mix, a basket of berries–are arguably ‘new’ to our diet in that we’re eating them every day instead of rarely or once a year. Fresh milk is a perfect example of a seemingly ancient food that is actually a modern addition to the adult diet.

Fifteen thousand years ago, when humans were busy domesticating goats and sheep, was also the advent of humans drinking milk beyond infancy. Milk was fresh or non-soured while leaving the udder but quickly started souring due to ambient microflora in the nanny’s (female goat) or ewe’s (female sheep) teats. On a warm day, these microflora needed only a short window of time before they’d transformed the milk from a sweet, lactose-rich broth to a tangy, fermented delight. Fifteen thousand years ago, sour milk was the norm!

Today, every supermarket in American holds gallons and gallons of non-soured milk. Ironically, none of it really fresh–or hours out of the teat–and much of it is even weeks old. Pasteurization, homogenization, refrigeration and cross-country roadways have all helped this modern milk stay in an unnatural state. While milk is a key ingredient in many of dishes we eat (and the morning beverages we depend on), it is also an anomaly when placed in historical context. The human gut has spent fifteen thousand years adapting to sour, not sweet, milk.

cream web

Luckily, souring your milk by making kefir, buttermilk, sour cream and other fermented dairy products is surprisingly easy. Most of these foods are made through a nearly identical process: warm the milk, inoculate it with microorganisms (a splash of buttermilk or a gurgle kefir will do), then hold at a warm temperature for approximately 8 to 20 hours. During this time, the microorganisms are busy multiplying. They’re turning lactose into lactic acid and making the milk more digestible. They’re also making a less safe food into a safer food. The more acidic environment inhibits the growth of unwanted, harm-causing bacteria. Fresh milk, on the other hand, is a blank canvas, waiting to be colonized by whatever crosses its path.

Kefir web

In addition to the health and safety benefits of sour milk, there are other perks to worth mentioning. When you make your own fermented dairy, you can:

taste web

Karin tastes Creme Fraiche

*   Make a zero-waste food: If you buy milk in glass jars and incubate in reusable containers, you’ll have nothing to throw away. More, you can reduce your exposure to questionable plastics.

*   Control the type and amount of added ingredients: Most commerical dairy products have stabilizers and / or loads of sugar. When making your own, you control what gets added.

*   Save money: If you buy one gallon of high-quality milk and convert it into four quarts of freshly made kefir, it’ll cost you approximately one quarter as much money as if you bought that same amount of kefir pre-made.

*   Eat fresh, truly probiotic foods: When you make your own cultured dairy, you are inoculating milk (or cream) with active microorganisms then letting those microorganisms grow and prosper. Because these microorganisms are most active in the first several days following inoculation, you can now have the privilege of eating these foods when their probiotic activity is at its peak.

Smell web

Melanyann considers the sourness

How to Make Kefir, Buttermilk and Sour Cream


  1. Warm 2 quarts of organic milk (for buttermilk, kefir) or 1 pint organic heavy cream (for sour cream) to 75-90°F.
  2. Add 2-3 tablespoons recently purchased plain kefir or cultured buttermilk. Use buttermilk as the inoculate if you are making sour cream. Choose a brand you like the flavor of to use as the inoculate (this inoculant, interestingly, is referred to as ‘the mother culture’). Stir the inoculant in gently for 10 seconds then transfer milk or cream into clean glass jars.
  3. Cover jars with lids then hold at 75-90°F for 6 to 18 hours. You can leave the jars fermenting for even longer if you’d like (up to 48 hours). I swaddle my jars in a down jacket or sleeping bag to keep the incubation temperature constant. You can also use a picnic cooler filled with warm water. Make sure to keep the incubating dairy in a vibration-free location (not on top of the washing machine). Make sure the temperature stays constant (no sweltering window sills, please).
  4. When the milk or cream smells sour and looks slightly or significantly thickened, transfer jars to the fridge. For sour cream, extend the shelf life by stirring in 1/8 tsp salt. For the kefir or buttermilk, enjoy by blending with fruit and sweetener.

Written by: Louella Hill, also known as The San Francisco Milk Maid (www.sfmilkmaid), a home birth mama and a professional cheesemaker. She teaches cheesemaking classes throughout the Bay Area and makes lots of cheese and fermented dairy products for her strong-boned family.

watermelon web

Mary and Flavia enjoy lunch after class

Little Macs

April 27, 2013

cocoroons web

Amanda and Lucy loved these cacao macaroons when they stopped over after a Monday walk. They are gluten free, grain free and low glycemic because of the coconut nectar. You could also use agave or maple syrup if you prefer. Well, I promised to post the recipe, so here it is!


3 cups raw unsweetened, shredded coconut

1/3 cup coconut oil or coconut butter (I used coconut butter that I made, quite easy if you have a Vitamix or a high-speed blender. Just search for “coconut butter” on YouTube and you will find many videos on making it. It is literally just filling the blender with shredded coconut and blending until it changes consistency.)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup almond flour or hazelnut flour

1 cup raw cacao powder

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 cup coconut nectar

Add all of the ingredients by hand or in a mixer. With a small ice cream type scoop, scoop them out onto a cookie sheet.

You can put them into a dehydrator at 110 degrees 2-3 hours, just enough to be slightly firm on the outside. Or you can put them in the freezer and eat them more like truffles. Either way, they are great!

Glorious Greens!

March 19, 2013

kale salad web

st'sa webBasket of kale web

Thank you thank you to Kris Wolcott and Mary Anderson for teaching the Nutrition class on Monday. The topic was Glorious Green and boy, did they whip up a storm! I was at a birth earlier in the morning, so when I got home to the class around 1pm, the kitchen was buzzing with smoothies, kale chips, kale salads, toasted sesame seeds. Ever inch of counter space was in use. I will post all the recipes over the next few days. For now, read about the Kale salad below.

kitchen web

Here’s a little about our presenters:

Kris and Mary web

Kris and Mary at work!

Moms at class web

Kris Wolcott:  Kris has spent over 20 years in the field of education.  She holds a M.A. in education with multiple certifications in educational support. Passionate about holistic health and nutrition, especially for the developing child, she is a registered yoga teacher and is currently enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and will graduate this summer as a Certified Holistic Heath Counselor.  A mother of two, when not tending to the home fires, she can be found teaching yoga, working with incarcerated girls or teaching cooking in nutrition classes in under served communities.
Mary Anderson:  Mary has spent many years working to support families here in San Francisco.  She holds a M.S.W. and has spent her time in settings that range from San Francisco General Hospital to her own children’s classrooms.  She is a certified birth doula and is currently enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition working toward certification as a Holistic Health Counselor this summer.  She brings with her a wealth of knowledge gained from her experiences not only as a social worker and doula, but most of all from her years spent as a mother of two.
 Ariane webDivia web

Raw Kale Salad Recipe

Combine one bunch of kale (thick stems removed and chopped) with several tablespoons of good quality olive oil. Add a dash of salt and massage the leaves for 2-3 minutes. This helps to tenderize the kale. Add a generous squeeze of lemon and let sit. Add avocado, carrot, apple, nuts, anything you like, just before serving. This salad will keep for a day in the fridge.

Easy Lemon Dressing

Kris is not partial to giving measured amounts. Instead she cooks by ratio. The basic ratio for salad dressing is 1 part acid to 3 parts oil. For the Kale salad, in a small bowl or jar, squeeze a lemon, add salt and pepper (pink Himalayan salt is good), whisk in good olive oil. That’s all!

Easy Asian Dressing

Here’s a general idea of measurements for the dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar , 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1/2 tbsp honey or other sweetener (maybe more or less?), 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds,  1/2 tsp soy/tamari sauce. A little fresh grated ginger is also good.  The honey is optional but at the demo, this dressing was my favorite. I’ll have to try it out without the sweetener and see how it tastes! Seasoned rice vinegar is sweet, so that may be enough. Use raw, unfiltered honey for the most nutrient value. Use tamari if you need the dressing to be gluten free.

Group 2 web

Green lunch!

Nourishing Our Children

March 14, 2013
Nourishing Traditions book web

Not the new book! But the pantry staple.

Just found this blog that goes along with the new book, Nourishing Our Children. Click HERE for the link. Since they are here in San Francisco, I will try to get them to present at our nutrition class. Here are some photos from last month’s Weston A. Price Foundation presentation. Thank you so much to Lydia Rose for making bone broth and giving us an intro to WAPF!

making whey web

Korean Soup — Delivered!

March 4, 2013
Thanks to Kathryn Aaker for contributing this info. She had a homebirth last year. Her son, Noah, is 14mo! Here’s what Kathryn says, “I subscribed to your food blog and noticed the Korean soup recipes and thought I’d mention that there’s also some ladies in Oakland who make Chinese and Korean postpartum soups and stews, and sell them individually through Good Eggs.  It might be a good resource for new mamas who might be too busy to cook!
 I truly believe that it was nutrition that literally helped me survive my postpartum, plus be able to continue exclusive breastfeeding!  Angie Needels stocked me up with her amazing WAPF-influenced postpartum food, and it helped so so much.
So thanks for educating families on the importance of this stuff!  I know I definitely appreciated knowing what a difference it could make, when I really needed it most.
Take care,
Kathryn Aaker
%d bloggers like this: