Wilted Spinach Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese

Autumn is the perfect time for "warm" salads. Toss some greens in a pan with vinaigrette, top with yummy fruits, veggies, nuts, or cheese, and you've got your self a real meal!
Autumn is the perfect time for "warm" salads. Toss some greens in a pan with vinaigrette, top with yummy fruits, veggies, nuts, or cheese, and you've got your self a real meal!

'Tis officially autumn, and the harvest is bountiful. This salad is a delicious way to enjoy the last fresh peaches of the season. Combine sweet peaches, savory spinach, healthy fats of goat cheese and nuts, and acid of the vinaigrette to create a very well-balanced dish. The flavors pair together perfectly.

And with the cooler weather, give your digestion a head start by warming up the greens of the salad. Your taste buds, and your tummy, will thank you. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the salad:

3-4 cups fresh local organic spinach
1 ripe local peach, sliced
1 handful toasted walnuts
1-2 tablespoons goat cheese

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
pinch salt
pinch cumin and/or garlic salt

Method:

Place the dressing ingredients in a little jar and shake to blend, set aside.

Warm a large sauté pan and add the dressing ingredients until warm.

Add the spinach and toss in the warm dressing until just wilted (don't overcook! Will turn into sludgy greens!)

Divide the wilted spinach between two serving bowls and add the remaining ingredients. Serve and enjoy!

Benefits:

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Peach: Peaches are high in a number of nutrients such as niacin, thiamine, potassium, and calcium. They are also high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that converts to Vitamin A (which is essential for healthy hearts and eyes). Some say the darker the peach’s color, the richer it is in Vitamin A. The antioxidants may also help in maintaining healthy urinary and digestive functions. Eastern cultures consider peach tea as a powerful kidney cleanser and is used in detoxification. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Spinach: Spinach is a rich source of vitamin K (think blood builder/purifier!), vitamins A, C, B2 and B6, as well as manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. Popeye apparently knew how to protect himself against inflammatory problems and oxidative stress-related issues, while promoting his cardiovascular and bone health. AND he got the girl! See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Walnuts: Walnuts are powerful medicine. They are packed with valuable antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega fatty acids, manganese, and copper. Walnuts have been studied and proven to help decrease risk of certain cancers,  including prostate and breast. They also help prevent cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Soul Warming Green Chile Stew

Introducing the lifeblood of every Native New Mexican I know...Greeeeen Chillleeeeee Steeeeeew. Yummmmm.....

Ingredients: (use as many local/organic as you can lay your hands on)

1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee

1 pound-ish lean, local, grass fed ground beef (or at least lean organic)

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2-3 teaspoons dried oregano

2 pounds roasted New Mexico chiles

2 medium potatoes, roughly peeled and cubed

3-4 roma tomatoes, chopped

1 32-ounce box vegetable broth

1-2 drops oregano essential oil

salt and pepper to taste

*optional: garnish with a wedge of lime, a handful of chopped cilantro and a fresh corn or flour tortilla

Method:

Heat the olive oil/ghee in a Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, cumin and oregano. Cook until aromatic and lightly browned. Add beef, mix together, and cook until meat is lightly browned.

Pour in the vegetable broth and reduce the heat to low. Add the potatoes and tomatoes to the stew and simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.

*NOTE: Great to eat when finished cooking but amazing the day after.

*NOTE: If roasted chiles are not available you can roast them yourself. Roast chiles on grill till they are black on all sides, then place in a paper bag and allow to cool. (This will make them easier to peel.) Rub the blackened peel off and rinse clean, then cut in half lengthwise, seed and chop.

*NOTE: Not all essential oils are created equal. I only use doTerra because their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is suitable for internal, external, and aromatherapeutic consumption.

*NOTE: All doTerra Essential Oils are extremely potent. I’d recommend 1 drop per dish. Otherwise, just know that you will have a VERY strong-tasting meal!

Click here to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils.

Health Benefits:

Ghee: A favorite among Ayurvedic practitioners, said to help cure ailments from tight muscles to memory loss. Ghee is essentially clarified butter that has been separated from the milk solids and saturated fats. I highly recommend replacing your regular butter with this. Read up on the health benefits and nutritional information.

Grass Fed Beef: Research has shown that meat, eggs, and dairy products from pastured animals are much better for your health than their mega-farmed counterparts. They offer more "good" fats, and fewer "bad" fats, are richer in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as vitamins E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Plus they don't contain the added hormones and antibiotics generally found in the factory farmed variety. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Garlic: Garlic has long been touted as a health promoting food. It is high in sulfur (and while that might make us a little, ahem, stinky, this may be an important part of a our otherwise sulfur-deficient diets. Garlic is also rich with manganese and is a very good source of vitamins B6 and C, as well as selenium. This "stinky rose" also protects our blood vessels from inflammatory and oxidative stress, but its other health benefits abound. See here for nutritional info. Please note: due to its rajastic nature, garlic and onions are NOT part of the traditional Saatvic diet.

Onion:  Like garlic, onions are high in sulfur (and while that might make us a little, ahem, stinky, this may be an important part of a our otherwise sulfur-deficient diets. They are a very good source of vitamins B6 and C, fiber, and manganese. They help protect our blood, bone, and connective tissue. See here for other health benefits and nutritional info. Please note: due to its rajastic nature, garlic and onions are NOT part of the traditional Saatvic diet.

Cumin: Cumin is a great source of iron and play an important role in our digestion. Cumin seeds may also have anti-carcinogenic properties, and thusly would help prevent cancer. See here for additional health benefits and nutritional information.

Dried Oregano/Oregano Essential Oil: In essential oil form, oregano is a powerful antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antioxidant, anti-parasitic, antiseptic, anti-viral and disinfectant. See here for more health benefits and properties, and if you are interested in learning about or purchasing oregano, or any other doTerra essential oils, please click here.

Green Chile:  Aside from being one of the most delicious foods on the planet, green chile is rich in fiber, contains no fat, cholesterol, or sodium. Meanwhile, it is packed with Vitamins A and C (essential for bone, tooth, mucosal, and eye health). See here for additional health benefits and nutritional info.

Potatoes: Potatoes come in a bunch of varieties and are a good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, copper, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber. When prepared properly (read: NOT french fries or potato chips) they can help protect against cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems and certain cancers. See here for additional health benefits and nutritional info.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Serve it up with cilantro, lime, and a tortilla and you're all set!

Cobb-ish Salad

Have some leftovers? Put them in rows on a plate for a beautiful gourmet treat!

(A.K.A. Use Up All My Leftovers in a Pretty Way Salad)

Aah, the beloved Cobb...Vegans, plug your ears for the next sentence...This standard American favorite traditionally boasts the artery-clogging (albeit delish) combo of chicken, Roquefort cheese, bacon, hard boiled egg, and some vitamin-packed (NOT!) iceburg lettuce, just for good measure. But if you're not in the mood for a triple bypass heart surgery, then this salad can come in many delicious and flavorful combinations that your body will less likely to reject.

I like the Cobb salad because it's a nice excuse to play with your food, creating color and flavor combinations to suit your mood and dietary requirements. It can be tailored to any diet: paleo, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, fun-free, flavor-free...anyway, you get the idea. The ingredients below are just what I had on-hand this evening, so feel free to get creative! Kick it up a notch with meat, egg, or cheese, fresh or dried fruit, and perhaps a sprinkle of fresh or dried herbs to embolden all the flavors. Please share your favorite combinations. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 medium/large avocado sliced or chopped

1 medium large tomato sliced or chopped

2 cups chopped greens (spinach, or head lettuce)

1 cup shredded carrots (Or Moroccan Carrot Salad)

1 cup green peas or the legume of your choice

1 cup grain of your choice (I used black rice with chopped greek olives, olive oil and pepper)

Method:

Arrange all ingredients in clean rows on your plate to suit your color and texture preferences.

Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, or your favorite salad dressing.

Admire the pretty rainbow of ingredients.

Then mix them up and eat!

*Note: If you’re a meat, egg, or cheese eater, those make welcome and tasty additions to this delightful salad. Otherwise the “grain and legume” combo makes a complete protein.

Health Benefits:

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, folate, vitamins K, C, and B, and potassium. It also contains a wide spectrum of inflammation-fighting nutrients. Avocado also helps increase our intake of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—when eaten with romaine lettuce, spinach, and carrots. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Black Rice: Known as “forbidden rice,” black rice was only eaten by nobles in Ancient China. It contains high levels of antioxidants known as “anthocyanins,” which have been linked to decreased rates of heart disease and cancer. Black rice is also high in other vitamins, fiber, and protein. See here for more health benefits.

Carrot: Carrots are well known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient, beta-carotene, which is GREAT for our eye health. However, these root vegetables are also a great source of a variety of antioxidants and other health-supporting nutrients such as vitamins A, C, K. Studies have shown their effectiveness in the prevention of colon cancer, and their benefits to our cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Green Peas: Green peas are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients such as Vitamins K, C, A, and B1, as well as manganese, folate, and fiber. As "nitrogen fixers" in gardening, green peas can provide the soil in which they are grown with nutrients, and thusly are considered an environmentally friendly food. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Spinach: Spinach is a rich source of vitamin K (think blood builder/purifier!), vitamins A, C, B2 and B6, as well as manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. Popeye apparently knew how to protect himself against inflammatory problems and oxidative stress-related issues, while promoting his cardiovascular and bone health. AND he got the girl! See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Tomato: Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of manganese and vitamin E. Multiple studies have shown that tomatoes are wonderful for heart health. See here for more health benefits of tomatoes. Heirloom varieties of any flora and fauna are dear to my heart. I’ll write more about this later. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.