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Frugivoro´s kitchen

November 29, 2018

Split pea soup is one of our favorite ones. You can make enough to keep for the following day. Believe me it will save you time. It is super nutritious, giving you fiber, protein, iron, vitamin A, and B vitamins.


-2 cups of dry peas

-1 diced large potato

-1 sliced medium carrot,

-1 diced stalk of celery

-4 cups of spinach

-2 diced green onions

-2 Fresh cloves of garlic

-1/4 cup of cilantro

-1/4 cup of parsley

-1 Tsp. of cumin

-1 Tsp. of turmeric

-Salt to taste

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Let’s start:

Soak dry peas overnight for faster cooking or soak them for one hour before cooking.

Remove soaked peas from water. In a 3 quart pot add peas to 10 cups of fresh water. Partially cover and cook them for approximately 40 minutes or until tender for peas soaked overnight and one hour and 20 minutes for peas soaked same day. Cook over medium-high heat. Make sure to check and add water as necessary while cooking.

When the peas are tender, add all ingredients starting with the diced potatoes, carrots, celery. Add garlic, cilantro, parsley, cumin, turmeric, and salt. When potatoes are tender add spinach and green onions last. Stir and cook for ten more minutes. Garnish it with chopped cilantro or parsley. Enjoy it!

Signed: Frugivoro the Clever Wolf

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Macronutrients have dominated our view on what constitutes health.  How much fat does that have?  Am I getting enough protein?  It’s only been the past 10 years that we’ve started to really consider the significance of micronutrients. While macronutrients are essential to living, more and more experts are looking to vitamins, trace minerals and phytochemicals to truly achieve optimal health and prevent today’s most common ills and diseases.

  1. Maintaining and boosting the immune system

  2. Keeping organs healthy and working properly

  3. Regulating body weight

  4. Preventing disease (such as autoimmune disorders, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes…)

  5. Detoxification

  6. Regulating mood

  7. Growth & Development

  8. Healing

  9. Cognitive function

  10. Inflammation

This is just a small, simplified list that continues to grow since we’ve just started to discover their benefits.  Here are 5 easy tips and tricks to get the most nutrients into your diet.

Why? The longer the cooking time, the less nutrients.  Raw vegetables, in general, have the highest nutrients but lightly steaming them can increase your overall vegetable intake and nutrient absorption. 


Steamed vegetables such as broccoli, for example, are easier to chew (and digest) than raw broccoli, making it easier for your body to absorb more nutrients.   An extreme example of this would be flax seeds.  These miracle seeds are wonderful, unfortunately, our teeth can’t chew through the tough shell which means it’ll likely pass through the system intact without releasing any of the benefits inside its shell.  Grinding flaxseeds (a coffee grinder works perfect) allows us to access and absorb these nutrients.

Why? The longer the cooking time, the less nutrients.  Raw vegetables, in general, have the highest nutrients but lightly steaming them can increase your overall vegetable intake and nutrient absorption. 

Why?  Phytochemicals (only found in plants) are often expressed in the plant’s color.  Not only is adding color to your dishes visually appealing, expanding the spectrum of colors will ensure you’re getting a wide range of nutrients.  This is another reason why overcooking should be avoided since the lack of color indicates the loss of nutrients.


How to:  Make it a habit to include colorful foods such as purple cabbage, carrots, red peppers and greens in each meal.  The more colorful, the more variety, the better!


3.  Buy frozen foods.

Why?  Seasonal foods tend to be more nutrient dense. If you don’t have access to seasonal foods or a farmers’ market, frozen fruits and vegetables are a surprisingly good option.  The average nutritional loss is 5% for freezing and foods are usually frozen at their peak ripeness, which = more nutrients.

How to:  Thaw in the fridge or kitchen counter before steaming to avoid excess heat and cooking.

4. Steaming with water – Drink up or cut back.

Why? Vitamins and minerals leach into the water used to boil or simmer vegetables.

How to: You can either use the least amount of water possible so that the vegetable reabsorbs the water or use the remaining liquid in sauces or soups.

5. Add healthy raw fat

Why? If you find yourself starving after having just a salad it could be because a slice of tomato and iceberg lettuce isn’t cutting it… nor should it.   This is a common problem for those trying to increase whole, plant foods in their diet.  Healthy fat from raw, unprocessed plants can help boost your energy, keep you satisfied, provide you with essential nutrients and increase their absorption.

How to:  Add these to your daily diet – Avocados, seeds, raw nuts, sesame seed paste (tahini), coconut,  and olives.


{delicious slivers of coconut sprinkled over fruit salad}

*Tip:  Keep a few mason jars on your dining table with different seeds such as hemp and pumpkin seeds next to the salt and pepper.  This way you can easily sprinkle your food or salad to enhance the flavor and reap the nutritional benefits on a daily basis.

Check out this great recipe from Kimberly Snyder that incorporates most of these tips to make a delicious, easy, decadent meal for less than $6 and under 10 minutes to make!

Things have been crazy for us here on the farm.  We’re in the middle of finishing our house and if anyone has any experience with this, you know how chaotic things can get towards the end!  Last minute changes, plumbing, unexpected surprises, and Moroccan-style tiling has our house upside down, full of loud banging, flying cement, plaster and curious cats (just the cement and plaster are flying, the cats are safely on the ground – most of the time).

Long story short, I’ve been too busy to write a new post but here are 3 quick cooking techniques that have revolutionized my health.

1. Raw tenderized kale

One of my absolute favorite dishes that I never get tired of, here’s a great 25 second video that shows you how to do this.

**Since tenderized kale shrinks down significantly and processed fats (in this case olive oil) should be kept to a minimum, I normally use 1 tsp. per 1 to 2 servings.  2 tablespoons for the the amount of kale used in the video is way too much but this technique is an invaluable one!!

2. Saute onions… in water??!

Yes, it’s doable and delicious.  Maybe you don’t want to do this for a decadent weekend meal but this is an easy way to improve you and your family’s health daily without compromising on taste.

** This video from Jane Thompson starts the saute with a little bit of water in the very beginning while I personally start with a hot dry pan and wait until the onions begin to stick.  I think both ways work and it’s something you can easily experiment with.  The secret is to use very very little water.

3. How to boil perfect beans

I’ve tried A lot of recipes to get the perfect beans and this way has never failed me.  Of course cooking time depends on the type of bean and how old they are but this is the only thing that varies in this perfect how-to.  You can read the entire article here from The Kitchn.

** Number 5 is key to your success!


{Photo courtesy from The Kitchn’s How to Cook Beans on the Stove}


1. Soak the beans overnight. The night before you plan to cook (10-14 hours), soak the beans to reduce cooking time and help them cook more evenly. Empty the dry beans in a bowl. Pick through the beans and discard any shriveled or unappealing beans. Cover the beans with a few inches of water and leave them on the counter.

2. Drain the soaked beans. The next day, the beans will have absorbed much of the water and nearly doubled in size. Drain the beans from their soaking water and rinse them gently under water.

3. Transfer beans to a cooking pot. Transfer the beans to a Dutch oven or other heavy cooking pot. Add the aromatics, if using.

4. Bring the beans to a boil. Cover the beans with an inch of water. Bring them to a boil over medium-high heat.

5. Reduce to a simmer and cook. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and bring the beans to a very gentle simmer. You should barely see the water moving. Leave the lid off for firm beans meant for cold salads and pasta dishes. Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar for creamier beans for soups, casseroles, and burritos. (Learn More: Leaving the Lid On Vs. Off When Cooking Beans)

6. Cook the beans. Cook the beans for one hour, and then begin checking for doneness. Depending on their age, size, and variety, beans can take anywhere from an hour to three hours to cook through. Be patient. Keep the beans a gentle simmer and taste frequently as they start to become tender. Add more water as needed to keep the beans submerged, and stir occasionally.

7. Add the salt when beans are just barely tender. When beans are tender but still too firm to enjoy eating, add the salt. Adding the salt too early can keep the beans from becoming tender. Continue simmering until the beans are as tender and creamy as you like them. Add more salt to taste.

8. Cool and store the beans. Cool the beans in their cooking liquid and transfer to refrigerator containers, still with their cooking liquid. Beans will keep for one week refrigerated or can be frozen for up to three months.

Additional Notes:

• Dry vs. Canned Amounts: One pound of dry beans makes about five cups of cooked beans, equivalent to about 3 cans of canned beans.

• Cooking Beans for Soup: If you intend to use your beans in a soup, it’s best to slightly undercook them here and then finish cooking them in the soup itself.

• The Cooking Liquid: Don’t pour it down the drain! Unlike the slimy liquid from canned beans, this cooking liquid is full of flavor and good nutrients. Once you’ve scooped up all your beans, this liquid makes a great base for soups and quick sauces.

Let me know how these come out for you and if you guys have any tricks and tips of your own you’d like to share!  See you next Tuesday! 


Beautiful and ancient, fennel has a subtle sweet licorice flavor and crunchy texture that has been all the rage since ancient Greece. Today, research is showing that a substance found in fennel, anethole, blocks tumor necrosis factor (TNF).  What does that mean for us exactly?  Quite a lot actually.   Tumor necrosis factor is linked with many immune disorders such as :

  • rheumatoid arthritis

  • inflammatory bowel disease

  • psoriasis

  • asthma


The pharmaceutical industry has been extremely invested in developing TNF inhibitors.  So much, in fact, that the global market for these inhibitors grew from 13.5 billion to 22 billion from 2008 to 2009.  The great news is that we can skip the bill and scary side effects of these synthesized drugs by incorporating more foods that naturally have TNF inhibiting properties.  Cumin, tumeric, green tea, and echinacea all seem to behave similarly by inhibiting TNF.

Fennel’s TNF inhibiting awesomeness is just the cherry on top in addition to its anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogen, antimicrobial qualities.  Now that you’ve developed a new found respect for that unsuspecting, but gorgeous, bulb, here’s my Iraqi mother-in-law’s recipe that’ll make you wish you had made more.

Luna’s Mediterranean Fennel Soup ingredients:

2 potatoes

2 small purple (or white) onions

a few small fennel bulbs (or 1 to 2 large ones)

dash of salt and pepper

water (sorry, the cook laughed when I asked her for measurements! – they run an old-school style kitchen here)

1 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil (optional)



Cut vegetables into large chunks

Add all ingredients to boiling water

Cover and cook until tender (about 20 to 35 minutes)



Top with Golden Garlic Crispy Bits: In a small pot, heat 1 to 2 tbs. of vegetable oil that’s suitable for high heat.  Add thinly sliced garlic slivers (4 to 6 cloves) making sure you “deep fry” the garlic by tilting the pot so that the garlic is immersed in the oil.  Remove garlic when it starts turning a golden brown.   Sprinkle over your newfound winter soup and enjoy! 

This soup is high in fiber, protein, vitamin A, C, iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Because lentils are high in fiber, they provide you with stable energy levels. Make it a complete protein meal by serving it with wild or brown rice so that you have all the nine amino acids, essential to dietary needs.


I grew up eating this soup hearing about the great benefits that came with it, making me love it that much more.  To this day it’s one of my favorite go-tos when I’m craving a filling, yet light, meal. Here’s my mom’s great recipe straight from her, a nutritionist, talented author and fantastic cook! 



1 cup lentils

1 large carrot (sliced in ½ inch pieces)

1 large celery stalk (sliced into ¼ to ½ inch pieces)

2 medium white potatoes (cut in cubes)

1 cup fresh spinach

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. paprika

3 tbs. cilantro

1 tbs. parsley

2 whole garlic cloves

1 tbs. tomato paste

1 medium onion (chopped)

Prepare the lentils – In a large pot, boil the dry lentils in 4 cups of water uncovered.  After they have been boiling for 5 minutes, remove the lentils and drain the water. Put the lentils back to cook with 8 cups of fresh water. Do not cover the pot. Boil them until almost tender using medium heat.

Then add potatoes, carrots, celery, turmeric, paprika, cilantro, parsley, garlic, tomato paste, onions and salt to taste.

Once the potatoes are tender, add the spinach and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Bon appétit!

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