Marlene Watson-Tara shares some recipes to increase your energy in late summer.
Late Summer Sweet Miso Broth
This basic miso soup should be a daily staple of your diet. It encompasses the use of sea vegetables to mineralize the blood and a variety of fresh vegetables. The balance of these ingredients creates a strengthening energy, vital to life.
Miso is a fermented soybean paste used to flavour various dishes but most widely as a stock to season soups. Miso’s natural fermentation process creates a combination of enzymes that strengthen and nourish the intestinal tract. As a result, the blood that nourishes the balance of the body is much stronger. The quality of our blood creates the people we are and the health we possess. Miso has been used for centuries in the Orient as a remedy for cancer, weak digestion, low libido, several types of intestinal infections, high cholesterol, and so much more. It is one of the world’s most medicinal foods.
- 2 dried shitake mushrooms
- 1 tsp wakame flakes
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 4 finely diced spring onions
- ½ pack silken tofu, cubed
- 4 rounded tsp sweet white miso paste
- Few sprigs parsley
In a soup pot, soak the wakame and shitake mushrooms in two cups of water for 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the water and thinly slice the caps, discarding the stems. Return the mushrooms to the pot and add another 4 cups of filtered water. Bring to a boil and then cook on a low simmer for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, spring onions, and tofu cubes and cook 10 minutes. Place the miso paste into a small mesh strainer and lower into the broth, using a spoon, stir until the paste is dissolved. Garnish with chives and parsley.
Tip: do not boil the miso – it has so many living microorganisms living inside which is a wonderful digestive tonic.
Caramelized Roasted Sweet Butternut Skewers
Butternut squash tastes so good when you simply toss it with your favourite herbs, some sea salt, or roast it with garlic and serve as a delicious side dish. Soups, casseroles, and stews all made with sweet and golden butternut squash are always a winner.
- 1 large organic butternut squash
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. dried rosemary or thyme
Preheat the oven to 160/340°. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Cut into equal size slices and place in a large bowl. Mix well with the salt and herbs, I prefer to use my hands to do this. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure the squash pieces do not overlap. Spritz the squash with some water. Bake for 25 minutes and remove from the oven. Turn all the slices over, spritz again with some water, and bake on the other side for an equal amount of time. The sugars will be released, and the slices will start to caramelize.
Nishime Vegetable Stew
Nishime, or water-braising of vegetables, calls for large pieces or chunks of root vegetables cooked over low heat until they are tender and sweet. The steam generated by this method of cooking allows the vegetables to cook in their own juices, eliminating the need for anything more than just a little added water. A light seasoning towards the end of cooking brings out their full-bodied flavour and natural sweetness.
Vegetables cooked in this manner are quite soft and juicy, giving us a very warming, strengthening energy. This is one of my favourite macrobiotic dishes, which I use with all of my clients. This dish has the ability to strengthen the body’s core organs, such as the pancreas and spleen. This enhances the whole digestive system. A great dish for creating vitality and one to be incorporated into your diet over the long term.
A small piece of kombu in the bottom of the pot brings out the sweetness of the vegetables, naturally tenderizes them by virtue of its glutamic acid, and lightly mineralises the dish, helping to create strong blood.
- 3-inch (7 cm) piece of kombu seaweed
- 1 dried shiitake mushroom
- ¼ cup filtered water
- 1 small cabbage
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1 large carrot
- 1 red onion
- 1 white onion
Soak the kombu and shiitake in the water for 15 minutes, then place in a heavy pot. Peel and chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and arrange the vegetables in the pot in individual sections. Check that there is enough water to just cover the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 25–40 minutes. Season the vegetables lightly with shoyu and simmer 10 minutes more until all the liquid has been absorbed by the vegetables. If the water evaporates too quickly during cooking, add a little more and reduce the heat (because it is cooking too quickly). Transfer to a bowl and serve. For variety, use Brussels sprouts, leeks, parsnips, turnips, green cabbage, or whatever vegetables are seasonally available. Makes 4–6 servings.
Gingered Apple Sauce with Cashew Cream and Crunchy Granola
Apple sauce can be made with peeled apples and a variety of spices. Flavourings or sweeteners such as rice syrup or cinnamon are also commonly added. It’s our absolute favourite dessert, straight from my jars. The sauce is equally delicious without the cream.
For the apple sauce
- 4 organic apples
- 2 tbsp apple juice
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed ginger juice
- Cashew cream
- Fresh apple slices
For the cashew cream
- 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
- Filtered water
- 2 Medjool dates
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
Drain the cashews and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a blender and add the dates and vanilla extract. Pour in half a cup of cold filtered water. Blend on high for 2 to 3 minutes, until very smooth and creamy. Add more water if necessary. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. The cream will thicken as it sits.
Wash and peel the fruit, remove the cores and slice them into bite-sized chunks. Place in a pot with a little filtered water or apple juice and add a pinch of sea salt. Simmer covered on a very low heat until the fruit is soft. When the apples are cooked, either mash with a potato masher or blend to a cream with an upright or stick blender. Stir in the fresh ginger juice and serve this delicious and easy dessert topped with some cashew cream, crunchy granola, and a slice of apple. Makes 8 servings.
Note: I make my own granola but for quickness, you can purchase granola from your natural food store. Read the labels and look for a brand that does not add sugars.
Marlene’s Home Remedies for Late Summer
Sweet Vegetable Tea
This tea is good for relaxing the body and muscles. It is especially beneficial for softening the pancreas and helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. A small cup may be taken daily or every other day in the mid to late afternoon. The tea helps to satisfy the desire for something sweet and reduce cravings for simple sugars and other stronger sweets.
Use equal amounts of four sweet vegetables, finely chopped (e.g. onion, carrot, cabbage, and sweet winter squash). Place three to four times as much water in a pan, bring to a boil and add the chopped vegetables. Allow to boil uncovered for up to 3 minutes, then reduce the flame to low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the vegetables from the broth and drink at room temperature.
Late Summer Exercise Sequence
The movement, deeper breathing, and heat generated by certain types of exercise are believed to help cleanse and revitalize the meridian channels, thereby enhancing the flow of ‘chi’ to our organs. To achieve this, my Late Summer ChiBall classes use the principles of Tai Chi, Chi Kung, and Yoga in dance-like sequences that vary in pace from being slow and gentle (yin) to being energetic and fast (yang). The focused breathing and repetitive fluid moves aid the release of muscular and emotional tension and dislodge blockages to the flow of our chi.
As the organs function in good health, digestion improves, blood sugar regulates, and overall good health is promoted. Yoga can provide renewal and rejuvenation to the body’s energy centres, and a meditative and mindful practice brings awareness into an inner world and sharpens self-reflection and insight.
Balasana – child’s pose, Supta Baddha Konasana – supine bound angle, Simple Supported Twist, and Savasana. The Liver and Spleen sit on the sides of the abdomen, so lateral bending and twisting can activate these meridians. Liver and Spleen energy travel up the inner legs, so hip-opening poses like Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana – Pigeon, Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle and Upavista Konasana – Wide-Angle Seated Forward Fold activates these meridians.
This is Part Two of a two-part series. Find Part One here.