Cider-Glazed Carrot and Quinoa Salad

Cider-Glazed Carrot and Quinoa Salad

Packed with vitamin A and beta-carotene, carrots are a great way to have fresh vegetables in your diet year round.  With winter drawing to a close, but the bounty of spring not yet upon us, thankfully the humble carrot is available fresh year round.  This recipe is written for the common carrot, but try preparing a version with the tiny and colorful spring varieties as they start to appear.

“The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.”
-Paul Cezanne

In Eastern medicine, the carrot is thought to benefit the lungs, supplement energy, support good digestion, and improve liver function.  It is often used in the treatment of tumors and stones.  Carrots help balance digestion, are recommended for heartburn and chronic intestinal issues, and the vitamin A and beta-carotene found they contain is beneficial to the eyes, ears, and skin.

This slightly sweet and easy-to-prepare salad has become a staple in our home.  It makes a nice accompaniment to chicken or salmon, or becomes a lighter meal on its own or paired with a dollop of hummus.  I often prepare a double, or even triple, batch to have a healthy meal ready to go when life gets really busy.


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well*
  • Salt
  • 1/2 small red onion onion, cut into crescents
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup black currants
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium carrots (about 1/2 pound), thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil plus more for baking sheet
  • Finely grated orange zest from 1 orange


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Bring quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cook in a rice cooker, or simmer until quinoa is tender, 10-15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl; let cool.
  2. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with olive oil. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the cider vinegar and honey in a large bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper. Add carrots and onion and toss to coat. Transfer to the baking sheet and roast until tender, 15-20 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar, orange zest, and olive oil in a small bowl. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper. 
  4. Add carrots, currants, and vinaigrette to quinoa and toss to coat. 

* For the easiest digestion and best nutritional value, I recommend soaking your quinoa overnight before cooking.  Simply combine the quinoa and water with 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar or yogurt, then cook as normal the next day.  To find out more about the why and how of soaking grains, read this.

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Herbal Recipes to Fend Off Colds and Flus

Herbal Recipes to Fend Off Colds and Flus

As the temperatures turn from cool to cold, and sniffly noses and coughs are all around, having a few protective remedies up your sleeve can help you resist those contagious bugs.  There are many herbs and spices that will help the body fight off a cold, especially if caught and treated early.  You may have one or two of these on hand, and can easily add a couple of others to your winter pantry, so you’ll always have some flu-fighters around.  What could be better than a spicy cup of ginger tea to boost immunity on a blustery day?

A traditional Chinese formula, called Cong Chi Tang, for an early-stage cold is made from green onions and fermented soybean.  Japanese-style miso soup is an easy-to-eat version of this ancient flu-fighter.  To make miso soup, stir 1/3 cup of dark miso paste (available at most Asian markets) into 4 cups of simmering water until fully dissolved, then add 3 or 4 thinly sliced green onions.  If you would prefer a slightly heartier soup, add a small handfull of wakame seaweed.

Green Onion for Early Stage Cold

Cilantro, ginger, and basil are also used to fight off colds, and especially effective when you are just starting to feel sick.  Fresh or dried basil and cilantro can make a simple tea, just by steeping in hot water (1 tablespoon dried or 1/4 cup fresh herb in 2 cups of hot water).  Fresh ginger can be sliced and boiled (1 ounce ginger for 2 cups of water) to make a pungent tea that will warm you up and clear a stuffy nose.

Fresh Ginger

When used early, these simple remedies can effectively prevent a stuffy nose or scratchy throat from becoming a week of misery.  Stock up on a couple of favorites to be prepared.  If, however, you do get sick this winter, remember to call your herbalist to help you get back on your feet.

Squash Soup

Squash Soup

SquashOne of my favorite parts of fall is the arrival of winter squashes in markets and shops.  I love to see all the colors, shapes, and textures of this hearty vegetable.  From the humble acorn to the sophisticated butternut, squashes always make for delicious and hearty fall fare.  Eastern medicine considers squashes mildly sweet and beneficial to the Stomach and Spleen.  Especially when served warm, squash soup is easy to digest, even for people who tend to have nausea or abdominal cramping.  This soup is simple to make, saves well, and best of all, can become a healing tonic with a few simple additions.


2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds squash, such as butternut, carnival, or pumpkin, peeled and cubed

salt and pepper to taste


Fresh ginger- 1 2-inch piece, peeled and chopped.  Fresh ginger is good for people who have asthma or allergies that tend to be aggravated by cooler weather.  Ginger is also great to add if you feel a cold or flu coming on.

Nutmeg- 1/2 teaspoon.  Nutmeg is a warming spice that is used to ease digestion and treat loose stools, especially for people who have difficulty digesting cold or raw foods.

Cinnamon- 1/2 teaspoon.  Cinnamon is another warming spice that boosts circulation and regulates blood sugar.  It is useful for arthritis or achy joints that are worse in cold weather, or for cold hands and feet.  Cinnamon is also commonly used to stabilize blood sugar in diabetes.

Pine Nuts- 1/4 cup, toasted.  Use as a garnish.  Pine nuts are moistening to the Lung and Large Intestine.  In Eastern medicine, pine nuts are used to treat dry coughs or constipation.


1. Melt butter over medium heat in a 6 quart or larger pot.  Add onion and cook about 2 minutes.  Add any additions (from above) and cook until onion is soft and spices are fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes.  Add cubed squash and 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until squash is soft.

2. Puree the soup, with either an immersion blender, or in batches.  Serve hot.