Beth Baldino, MSW, CHHC
Certified Holistic Health Counselor
(973) 979-6951

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Nourishing & Delicious Chicken Stock

Your grandmother was right—there is nothing like chicken soup for boosting immunity and helping to activate our natural defenses. Making a stock at home, using bones, some pieces of meat and fat, vegetables and filtered water is the best way to ensure maximum benefits. This kind of food remedy can be kept on hand for frequent use during the cold and flu season. According to the highly-esteemed nutrition researcher, Sally Fallon, stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. And due to the inclusion of broken-down material from cartilage and tendons, your stock will be full of substances like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

 Read more... (Estimated reading time: 2:04 mins)

Breakfast Smoothie

I know — we’re all busy in the morning! For most people, full breakfasts of omlettes, whole-grain pancakes, etc. are for days off or leisurely weekends. But that doesn’t mean you need to skip THE most important meal of the day. If you don’t have a well-balanced meal in the morning, you’re setting yourself up for sluggish metabolism, sugar imbalances, and cravings that will make it impossible for you to stick to your eating plan.

 Read more... (Estimated reading time: 2:18 mins)

Wheat-free Cinnamon Nut Bread

This moist, delicious, and easy to prepare bread, which can be transformed into a healthy cake with the addition of some naturally-sweetened cream cheese frosting, is wheat and sugar-free and can be made dairy-free with the use of an alternative milk (nut, seed, or soy)

Ingredients:

1 & 1/3 cup almond flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 cup honey

1 jumbo egg

1 Tablespoon milk of your choice

1 banana (not too ripe)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

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Add in Easy Whole Grains

In my experience, adding whole grains to a diet, particularly when they are replacing any kind of refined version, can have a significantly positive effect on energy, mood, and one’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. For busy cooks, grains lend themselves well to cooking in batches and providing multiple meals with less effort. Furthermore, they are a great bargain relative to their nutritional value, especially if you purchase them in bulk.

The basic steps to preparing grains are:

1) measure and check for unwanted material and rinse in cold water using a fine mesh strainer

 Read more... (Estimated reading time: 2:28 mins)

Rainbow Swiss Chard with Baked Tofu

This is an easy to prepare and really delicious plant-protein (tofu) and leafy greens (chard) dish. As the tofu is already baked  and usually seasoned (you can buy these packages in most health food stores) and the greens are raw, it’s a no-cook option for when you’re pressed for time or don’t want to heat up your kitchen (the walnuts can be toasted, but don’t need to be).

Ingredients:

Salad-

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Quick & Easy Cherry-Banana Sorbet

This is a super easy way to satisfy a craving for sweet and cold without all the added sugar and fat of ice cream. All the ingredients can be kept on hand and ready to go anytime (so you don’t even need to run out for the fresh fruit, as you’re using frozen).  Any “creamy”  frozen fruit can be substituted for the banana (mango or peach would work well), and the cherries could be replaced with your favorite berry. If you use the highest quality, most natural maple syrup for your sorbet you’ll be assured the best taste and most nutrition (a good maple syrup is high in minerals). Regarding the frozen bananas, you can prepare these ahead and store them in your freezer (already peeled, in an airtight container).

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Consider Natural Sweeteners – An Overview of Options

Natural Sweeteners 

The average American consumes well over 20 teaspoons of added sugar on a daily basis, which adds up to an average of 142 lbs. of sugar per person, per year! That’s more than two times what the USDA recommends, and is proof of sugar’s addictive nature. Here you’ll find information on natural sweeteners, all of which are gentler than the refined white stuff, easier on blood sugar levels, and available in most health food stores and some general markets. All of these products would be preferable to artificial sweeteners, in my opinion. 

Honey

 Read more... (Estimated reading time: 5:29 mins)

Brown Rice & Raisin Pudding

A whole grain, natural sweeteners, healthful herbs — wholesome enough to go from dessert one night to breakfast the next morning.

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 1/2 cups firm tofu
2/3 cup raisins
1 cup rice milk of your choice (if you don’t drink cow’s milk, goat’s milk has the most similar consistency)
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon kuzu*, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

 Read more... (Estimated reading time: 1:05 mins)

Cinnamon Walnut Bread (Wheat & Sugar-Free)

My favorite way to bake wheat and gluten-free is using nut flours. They impart a delicious flavor and make for a really moist bread or cake. Add a “frosting” made from cream cheese sweetened with agave syrup and flavored with natural vanilla, and call it a lightly-sweetened cake!

Ingredients:

1-1/3 cup Almond Flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
¼ cup honey
1 jumbo egg
1 Tbsp. milk of your choice
1 banana (not too ripe)
¼ cup chopped walnuts

Instructions:

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.

Greens, Glorious Greens

Green vegetables are the foods most missing in our diets. Learning to cook and eat greens is essential to creating health. When you nourish yourself with dark, leafy greens you will automatically crowd out some of the foods that aren’t as healthy. Greens help build your internal rain forest and strengthen the blood and respiratory systems. Green is associated with spring, the time of renewal, refreshment and vital energy. In Asian medicine, green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity.

Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are full of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phyto-chemicals.

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Thai Quinoa

A simple method for getting a little “exotic” flavor that’s subtle enough to be enjoyed by even the more traditional eaters in your household

Ingredients:

1 cup dry roasted quinoa*
2/3 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
½ cup red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon of sesame oil
Pinch of salt

Instructions:

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  1. Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer. Bring water & coconut milk to a boil. Add quinoa, garlic, salt & chili flakes.
  2. Bring back to boil & reduce heat. Cook for 12-15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in red pepper, sesame oil, and salt.

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash w/ Cherries

Ingredients:

½ cup quinoa, cooked
2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup dried cherries
2 tablespoons barley malt (a gentler sweetener)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Grapeseed oil (or another vegetable oil)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil the squash
  2. Mix warm quinoa, barley malt, walnuts, cherries and cinnamon.
  3. Stuff each squash half with the mixture.
  4. Bake in a covered dish for 45 minutes or until squash is tender.

Quinoa w/ figs, proscuitto, & mint

For the meat lovers in your life. A little proscuitto never hurt anyone (as my Italian grandmother used to say, emphasis on “little” is mine)

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 oz sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
3 dried Calmyrna figs, stems removed and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

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  1. Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a fine strainer to remove any bitter residue. Combine the quinoa and water in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil.

Apple-Ginger-Walnut Oatmeal

Here’s another twist on the classic winter-time breakfast. Finding multiple ways to eat oats that you enjoy will do good things for your heart, blood-sugar, and weight-management efforts.

Ingredients:

3 green tea bags
1 cup whole oats
1/8 tsp. sea salt (optional)
1 cup diced organic apples
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 Tbs. finely chopped crystallized ginger
4 tsp. organic agave nectar

Instructions:

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  1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add tea bags, turn off heat, and let steep 4 minutes. Squeeze bags into water to get maximum antioxidant benefit, before discarding.

Homemade Muesli

This is a very easy substitute for cooked oatmeal at breakfast. It is especially nice in the warmer weather when hot cereal may not be as appealing. Children may enjoy being involved in putting their own bowls together the night before and are more likely to be open to something new if they have participated and selected their own toppings. Of course if many people will be eating it, it may be more convenient to make one bigger batch and let everyone choose their own ingredients as they make their bowls in the morning. And if you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, don’t let that stop you — improvise and use what’s on hand.

 Read more... (Estimated reading time: 1:25 mins)