Huckleberry Thinn | Food Will Get You Far – Wildly Nutritious Recipes

A food blog with nourishingly hearty, wildly nutritious & irresistibly delicious food craft inspired by my adventures and designed to motivate yours.


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achiote spiced butternut squash tacos

I like my tacos like I like my hair: golden, full-bodied and tastefully crunchy. You know, reminiscent of my California days.

My hair frostbit this weekend, so in spirit of my soon-to-be summer sea-wavy hair, I created a sunny taco blend the colors of my favorite serape. Topped with California avocados sweetened with California citrus, these tacos will have you dreamin’ of swimm’n and thinn’n.

Achiote Butternut California-Style Tacos

1 small butternut squash

1 tablespoon of your favorite roasting oil

1 tablespoon local honey

1 tablespoon ground achiote powder (find this at Latin markets)

Peel and cube the butternut squash into small pieces > in a bowl, blend the butternut with the oil and honey until the squash is sticky, then coat with achiote powder > bake at 350 for 30 minutes (or until soft and slightly browned).

should I change my blog name to butternut squash?

should I change my blog name to butternut squash?

Toppings: greens (arugula mixed with fresh squeezed orange juice), cilantro, purple cabbage, red onion, crumbly cheese (cotija) and guacamole (mash 1 avocado with 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 tablespoon orange juice (fresh), 1 garlic clove minced, 1 tablespoon hot sauce or salsa, 1 teaspoon juice from pickled jalapeno jar, and salt and pepper to taste).

This recipe is dedicated to one of my favorite vegetarian foodies–my farm and food bank connection–who just courageously moved her life to the California coast. Cheers Susan! May your beach babe life be filled with sunshine, sea-wavy hair and fertile soil!

WEST SIDE

 


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seed weed snacks

Grad school has been an adventure; not the wildernessing, huckleberrying kind. Rather, the Hunch Back Thinn kind. Last week I turned the page from vitamin pathways to summit pathways.

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I’m turning to you, Aspen, for rejuvenation. And I’ve got a back pocket full of seed weed snacks to replete my mineral stores so I can explore Hanging Lake and Maroon Bell shores.

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Huckleberr Thinn's Seed Weed Snacks 1

Huckleberry Thinn’s Seed Weed Snacks

2 full sheets of nori (seaweed for sushi), or a pack of the already-cut kind UNFLAVORED!

1/4 cup of each: sesame seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (health food store)

preheat your oven to 250 degrees F > cut nori sheets into 9 pieces each > mix seeds together in a bowl > mix honey, sesame oil and liquid aminos together in another bowl > one sheet at a time, use a marinating brush to paint the honey sauce onto the seaweed > then dip the sticky side of the seaweed into the seeds and press gently until the surface of the seaweed is completely covered in seeds > line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the seed weed sheets seed-up > bake for ~15 minutes or until the edges of the seaweed begin to harden and curl.

Huckleberry Thinn's Seed Weed Snacks 3Huckleberry Thinn Seed Weed Snacks 2Nutrition Facts Thinn Style

In the same way that our soil supplies your vegetables, fruit, grains and meat with essential minerals, the ocean’s ecology is a marine market of minerals that work their way into your diet.

For thousands of years, Asian cultures have harvested red algae from the sea to form nori. This edible seaweed, commonly consumed as the green wrap on sushi, is a sea vegetable with impressive levels of iodine.

Iodine, that sounds familiar. Iodine as in iodized salt? Yes. But saltwater is not the iodine common denominator between iodized salt and seaweed. In fact, salt doesn’t naturally contain iodine. In response to a sweeping goiter epidemic in the 1920’s, iodine was added to salt to replenish iodine deficiency and its debilitating effects.

Despite the huge world health impact of the salt fortification movement, iodine deficiency remains a top of mind public health problem. Up there with zinc and iron, iodine is one of the most underconsumed minerals IN THE WORLD! Iodine deficiency is a major world health issue, and this problem is not isolated in developing countries. Nearly 30% of the world’s population is iodine deficient.* And iodine deficiency has been recognized as the world’s single cause of preventable brain damage and mental retardation.

The World Health Organization recommends that adults and children older than 12 consume 150 micrograms of iodine / day. Kids need 90-120 micrograms / day, and pregnant women need 250 micrograms. This isn’t a suggested recommendation; iodine is an essential mineral. Even though it isn’t as sexy to talk about as gluten, omega-3’s and antioxidants, iodine plays a MAJOR role in growth and metabolism, and its important to know why.

I have a thyroid. You have a thyroid. We all have a thyroid (mine’s in my neck, your’s is probably too). Iodine from your diet is pumped into your thyroid gland where it is incorporated into thyroid hormones  T3 (trioodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). Iodine plays a structural role in thyroid hormones.

The active iodine-containing hormones are released into the blood where they travel to peripheral tissues and land on cells to impart their messenger effects. Thyroid hormones talk to your DNA and tell it to go or stop. In this way, they modulate protein synthesis rates. And proteins control all biological processes in your body. For example, T3 regulates the production of proteins required for the build up and break down of fats, carbohydrates and proteins; your metabolism. Thyroid hormones are the single most important determinant of basal metabolic rate regardless of your size, age or gender.

So without adequate iodine, the body can’t synthesize sufficient thyroid hormones, and basal metabolic rate (and appetite) slows. What’s more, insufficient iodine/thyroid hormones can lead to mental retardation (cretinism) because they are required for normal maturation of the nervous system in the fetus and infant. This is why iodine is especially important for pregnant women.

Thyroid hormones are also required for normal growth, alertness, and they support the sympathetic nervous system; your fight or flight response.

Waist-deep in waders in Maroon Bells Lake holding a fly rod when the sky unleashed into a lightening and hail storm… fight or flight, I was flying out of the water in the blink of an eye. Perhaps it was iodine-rich seed weed snacks keeping my sympathetic in check.

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*Zimmerman Lancet 2008, 371, 1251


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ancho and guajillo chile enchilada sauce

It’s nearly impossible to use the word “enchilada” in a sentence without the word “love”. I proved this theory in my earlier homage to Baja’s beloved Los Tres Gallos.

los tres gallos 1

Since writing my original Gallos tribute butternut squash enchiladas en salsa roja, I  stepped my huarache-huggin’ feet back into that patio jungle of sea-salty hair and squash blossom sopes.

los tres gallos 2

While dipping under dangerously romantic lanterns and hobbling on Mexican cobble stoned pathways leading to the open-air kitchen, I discovered Tres Gallos’ recipe treasure of dried chile barrels. Some chilies so small and spicy just one could light your night. Some dark and wrinkled like an old man at sea. Each chile adds authentic purity to Gallos’ many hand-and-heart crafted recipes.

As the rose-in-teeth good looking waiter traded my menu for a cold hibiscus tea, I muttered the word “Molé” and we had a language-barrier understanding that I was testing what these dried chilies were all about– the inspiration for this story.

los tres gallos Cabo San Lucas

The same way the worldly women of Gallos poured their contagious kindness into my mole, I dedicated my five-week winter break to five fiery feasting frenzies.

Los Tres Gallos Cabo San Lucas 2

Huckleberry Thinn’s ancho and guajillo chile enchilada sauce appeared as a blanket to a dear friend’s birthday enchiladas, a roof to stuffed poblanos at a neighborhoooood Christmas dinner and a filler to my family’s Christmas tamales. My mole-like ancho & guajillo chile sauce opened mouths and hearts this holiday season the same way Gallos opened mine.

When I watched the Garcias clear tray after tray of double-batch butternut squash enchiladas doused in this street-style chile sauce, I knew the world was ready for my racy red enchilada recipe.

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Huckleberry Thinn’s Ancho & Guajillo Chile Enchilada sauce

12 ancho chilies (dried chile section of Mexican markets and some grocery stores)

12 guajillo chilies (dried chile section of Mexican markets and some grocery stores)

1 bulb garlic, whole-unpeeled

2 cups chile water *see note in instructions

1 28 oz can Cento tomatoes (crushed or whole peeled)

2 scoops Better Than Bouillon chicken stock (or vegetable for a vegetarian sauce)

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 tablespoon cumin

salt

for a smokier, spicier sauce, add a chipotle chile or 2 and some adobo sauce mmmm

early in your enchilada-making day, rinse 12 dried ancho (pasilla) chilies and 12 dried guajillo chilies > lay them out to dry.

dried ancho chilies

turn on your oven broiler setting and set 1 whole, unpeeled bulb of garlic inside > roast garlic for ~10 minutes or until the papery skin starts to brown and the garlic mushes when squeezed > remove roasted garlic from the skin and set aside.

in a heavy dry frying pan (cast iron if you have it), toast chilies on medium heat side by side like sardines and use a spatula to press the chilies into the hot metal > do this to both sides for a couple of minutes until they are aromatic and slightly softened.

guajillo and ancho chile sauce 1

bring a stock pot full of water to a boil then remove from the heat > rehydrate the chilies in the stock pot > place a bowl or small plate inside the pot to keep the chilies submerged for ~20 minutes or until they are mostly soft (some will rehydrate quicker than others–this is OK)

guajillo and ancho chile sauce 2

once hydrated, run the chilies under water to remove the stems and seeds > add the chilies to a blender or food processor > add the roasted garlic > add a 28-oz can of Cento brand tomatoes (whole or crushed) > add 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves > add 1 tablespoon ground cumin > *add 2 cups of the water the chilies soaked in > add chipotles and adobo if desired > blend until smooth and add more chile water to thin out the sauce to desired consistency (thinner for enchiladas, thicker for stews) > place sauce back in the frying pan and simmer on low for 30 minutes > add salt and Better than Bouillon (~2 scoops) to taste.

guajillo and ancho chilie sauce 3

Use this red chile sauce as a topper for stuffed peppers or tamales, a stew base for pork shoulder or shredded chicken, or my favorite…sauce for Huckleberry Thinn’s butternut squash enchiladas.

butternut squash enchiladas

For breakfast or brunch, top these enchiladas with a fried egg and avocado.

This sauce is really a celebration of chilies; filling optional.

Rick Bayless On En-chiladas

Rick Bayless, the Julia Child of Mexican food says it best:

“If you happen to be in the right parts of Mexico, you can experience the thrill of [the real] enchilada in which the tortilla is tightly clad with red chile sauce as it sears on a hot iron griddle. It’s that seared version–the “dip the tortilla in chile sauce then sear” version–that illustrates the very essence of enchilada. Language tells it all. Tortillas that become enchiladas are not en-cased or en-robed; they’re en-chilied tortillas: tortillas enchiladas.”

Enchiladas take time, but the reward is worth it.

Vamos a Gallos! (let’s go to the rooster?)


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flour free blueberry coconut flapjacks

Huckleberry Thinn’s Flour Free Blueberry Coconut Flapjacks

inspired by Green Kitchen Stories

2 banana-bread-ripe bananas

4 eggs

1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbs ground flax seed

coconut oil (~1 tbs / frying batch)

smash 2 super-ripe bananas in a bowl > add 4 eggs and mix well > add 1/2 cup of finely shredded unsweetened coconut, 1 cup of blueberries, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tbs ground flax seed > spoon sand dollar size flapjacks into melted coconut oil on a hot skillet and let brown > top with warmed 100% pure maple syrup and crushed walnuts for a magical morning.

flour free blueberry flapjacks

Nutrition Facts Thinn Style: Defining Antioxidants

We are humans. We eat and breathe. We have separate food and air pipes, but deep in our molecular world, our air and food meet to generate energy to sustain life.

We breathe air from the atmosphere that diffuses from our lungs to our blood, and ultimately, each of our trillions of cells.

In chemistry, oxygen is prized for its electronegativity… think grabiness. It is a nearly perfect atom (7 electrons) and only needs a single electron to be super stable (8 electrons). The closer an atom is to perfection (full valence shell of 8 electrons), the more desperate it is.

So overbearing oxygen is big and boisterous and powerfully attracted to single electrons… Now you see why our bodies choose to breathe oxygen; a true biological bad ass.

Like me, oxygen is fulfilled by food; an electron source. To live, each of your trillions of cells must convert energy from food into a form of energy they can use. Oxygen drives this process.

Food is digested and absorbed in your stomach and gut, then transported by your blood to your cells where oxygen is anxiously waiting.

One thing leads to another…food is stripped of its electrons. Technically, the food undergoes a series of chemical reactions that transfer energy from chemical bonds like a relay race. The energy is collected and reassembled into a new form of energy our cells can use to generate life (adenosine triphosphate or ATP).

Sitting at the bottom of this funnel of chemical reactions is big ole oxygen waiting to get some electron action. Oxygen, all wide-eyed, wants to be electrified. Oxygen creates a force that drives this chain of chemical reactions.

Without oxygen, this reaction wouldn’t occur. You wouldn’t have energy. You would die.

So oxygen is vital to sustain life. Then why eat antioxidants (literally “anti-oxygen”)???

Although we need oxygen to live, high concentrations of oxygen and other oxidant (electron-stealing) species are corrosive.

Oxygen has grips of wild single girlfriends called free radicals. Like oxygen, free radicals just need one electron for chemical stability. In a quest to pair up with another electron, free radicals are highly reactive and destructive.

Free radicals come from the environment (pollution, smoke, UV rays…) and can be made in the body as byproducts of metabolic processes. Regardless of the source, free radicals earn their name by being violently hungry for electrons.

Free radicals will snipe electrons from anything they can get their electronegative hands on. The victim–often your cells–that loses its electron to oxygen/free radicals is “oxidized”. The radical–electron stealer–is the oxidant.

Oxidation throws off the cell’s energy balance, which drastically alters a cell’s function for the worse. It can also damage DNA. This is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can manifest into a number of diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer.

Fortunately, free radical food fighters can quench free radical electron appetites by giving up a spare electron to the ravage radicals before they destroy tissue. Named “antioxidants”, these generous free lovers float around handing out electrons so oxidants don’t eat tissue.

Antioxidants include vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, flavonoids and carotenoids.

B is for Brainberries 

Blueberries are blue because they have a flavonoid called anthocyanidin–a plant pigment.  Anthocyanidin is blueberry’s antioxidant.  It contains properties that prevent oxidants from damaging tissue, especially in the brain.

Anthocyanidin’s electron-giving grace saves the brain from electron-scavenging oxidants. They protect neuronal integrity from oxidation-related problems like Alzheimers disease. The same way the antioxidant buffers free radical frenzy in brain tissue, it also protects and repairs DNA and possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogentic properties that inhibit heart disease, diabetes and obesity–all inflammation-related problems. 

Be smart. Eat smart.


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pumpkin poblano chipotle chicken chili

Two is usually better than one. Double IPAs, double scoops of ice cream……except when we’re talking about temperatures below zero.

Here’s a double-spicy chili to rescue you from Colorado’s double-digit-below-zero temperatures. It took me longer to scrape the ice off my car window than it did to load the crockpot.

Light up your night, cause baby it’s miserably cold outside.

Huckleberry Thinn’s Pumpkin Poblano Chipotle Chicken Chili

inspired by ateaspoonofhappiness.com

1 yellow onion

4 cloves of garlic

2 poblano peppers

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

2 cups fresh or frozen corn

1 15-ounce can black beans

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

6 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth

2 chicken breasts

2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from “chipotles in adobo sauce”)

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

salt & pepper

cilantro & avocado

in a frying pan, heat up a lug of oil and saute 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped poblano peppers and 4 cloves of chopped garlic > add to a crock pot > add rest of ingredients > give it a good stir > submerge chicken > cover the crock pot and cook on high all day > when you get home from work, use 2 forks to shred the chicken into the soup > serve with cilantro and avocado

My hands are too cold to type. So just eat up and heat up!

pumpkin poblano chipotle chicken chili


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maple pumpkin pie with walnut crust

If you know me, you know I’m a terrible baker. That’s no way to sell a pie recipe, but that’s how I need to show you how forreal I am about my baking breakthrough… breakfast-worthy pumpkin pie.

For years I’ve been trying to patch pumpkin pie fault lines and uncondense condense milk. I’ve failed at faking out flour crust with other flour frauds and frantically mixed salt into a half-baked pie. Long story short, this pie has evolved from Libby’s label to a coconut-creamy, maple-sweet spiced pumpkin treat.

What it lacked in the first trial from a washed-out flavorless flour crust evolved into a delicately salted buttery nut crust. A dear friend (whose Texan mama probably makes the world’s best pecan pie) even admitted “this is the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had”.

Scoops of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream puddled around the maple-sweet, spice-kissed pumpkin, and then serendipidously, Real Life’s Send Me An Angel hallowed the golden heap of healthy-pie heaven.

Huckleberry Thinn’s Maple Pumpkin Pie with Walnut Crust

Inspired by Heidi Swanson’s spice kissed pumpkin pie and Mark’s Daily Apple’s Ultimate Walnut Pie Crust with Pumpkin Filling

Flour-Free Pie Crust

1 1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

in a food processor, blend 2 1/2 cups of nuts > add 2 tablespoons of melted butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt and process until you have a crumbly moldable “dough” > dump nut crumbles into a pie dish and use your fingers to pat them into an even crust > bake pie crust at 350 degrees for 20 minutes then let cool.

huckleberry thinn walnut pie crust

Pumpkin Pie Filling

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice blend

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (find in spice or baking aisle near Bob Mill’s products)

1 15-oz can of roasted pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

4 tablespoons maple syrup

1 cup coconut milk (canned)

in a large mixing bowl, combine 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice blend, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder > add the entire contents of a 15-oz can of pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 eggs, 4 tablespoons maple syrup and 1 cup of coconut milk and mix until smooth > pour pumpkin pie filling into nut crust (not too full!) and make a foil ring to shield the exposed nut crust from burning > bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes > when “done” the pie should barely wiggle in the middle. let the pie cool for awhile to let the fragile nut crust set.

huckleberry thinn maple pumpkin piehuckleberry thinn maple pumpkin pie with walnut crust

Serve with your best vanilla ice cream and feel the love from heaven above.


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full moon butternut squash and leek soup with sage

Butternut squash soup is like beer. If you’re a butternut lover–like beer–you like all blends.There are different flavors and fancies for different moods and moons.

Full moons are a time to get wild. So I did, with this soup.

The moon is a powerful body. So is this soup.

It restrains winter night’s darkness and makes storm clouds glow. So does this soup.

Huckleberry Thinn’s Full Moon Butternut Squash and Leek Soup with Sage

1 large butternut squash

1 dab of roasting oil

3 cups of chopped leeks

1/4 cup dried sage

1 knob of butter

8 cups vegetable stock

paprika

salt &  pepper

butternut squash

halve 1 large squash lengthwise, scoop out seeds and lay squash cavity-up in a roasting pan > brush orange meat with roasting oil and sprinkle with paprika > roast squash at 350 degrees for an hour or until you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork > when perfectly roasty, remove squash from the oven and let it cool enough for you to handle (while waiting for this to cool, skip to the next paragraph) > scoop out the squash meat out and set aside.

roasted butternut squash soup

fire up a large stock pot with a few dabs of organic butter > chop the rooty nub off of your leeks (I had 1 sword size leek, but you could use probably 3-4 regular size leeks) > slice the white part of the leek up the spine lengthwise so you can separate the leek layers and clean well with water (this is where the dirt hides) > take a knife perpendicular to the long leek and chop into 1/4 inch slivers > add leek to butter and stir to distribute butter evenly > saute leeks on low-medium heat until they become sweetly fragrant and a little limp (~10 minutes) > add 1/4 cup of sage > add chunks of squash, and cover with 8 cups of vegetable stock > bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer > let soup cook together for ~30 minutes, then blend together for a smooth finish > add salt and pepper to taste > top with toasted pecans or Huckleberry Thinn’s Roasted Squash Seeds

butternut squash and leek soup with sageFull moon soup.. it even has craters.

This recipe is simple. Simple ingredients, simple steps. Because I really want you to taste the leek, squash and sage, I left out things like carrots, onion, potatoes and garlic. It doesn’t need it. But because there are only a few stars in this soup, you want to use the best quality squash, leek and dried sage you can find. Farmer’s markets are lined with these ingredients right now. A more orange, glowing butternut squash meat will lead to a sweeter, silkier soup.

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