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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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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grilled beet zucchini manchego apple stacks & kale beet green salad with pluot balsamic

I want to feed you endless summer recipes. My hands are tied with full-moon harvest. But I miss you. So here’s two for the meantime.

kale beet green salad with cucumber, sunflower seeds and pluot balsamic vinegar

finely chop 1 bunch of dino kale and 4 beets worth of beet greens > blend together dressing: 1 pluot, 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 shallot clove > top with cucumber and sunflower seeds

beet greens

grilled beet zucchini manchego apple stacks

thinly slice 4 beets and 1 zucchini into even medallions > grill and layer with sliced apple, manchego cheese and if you’re really bold, some black forest bacon

beet stack

beets and bacon

Beets are hard to beat. Nutritionally, beets have long been used for liver healing. They stimulate the liver’s detoxifying process. They also provide favorable bowel function (check out your crimson movements!).

When you buy a bunch of beets, don’t toss the handle. Beet greens are even more nutrient dense than beetroots! They are richer in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. The green sails are also full of folic acid and minerals. If you’re not into raw beet greens, steam them to make them tender like chard.

Beet up from the feet up, yo.


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bowie’s first bbq: honey chipotle chicken, rainbow chard chopped salad and grilled pineapple

This is Bowie; a young shelter mutt that refused the name Huckleberry. And this is how we welcomed the loyal little dude into our family. Bowie’s first barbecue.

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Grant’s Grilled Chipotle Honey Chicken 

1 can chipotle chilies in adobo

1/2 cup honey

2 pounds thin chicken breasts

salt and pepper

fire up the grill > salt and pepper the chicken on both sides > grill chicken until mostly cooked > blend together honey and chipotles with accompanying adobo > generously baste chicken > cook through

chicken

Rainbow Chard Chopped Salad with Basil and Radishes

1 bundle fresh chard

1 handful basil

however many radishes you can handle

chop extending stems off chard and set aside > roll chard lengthwise into tight bundles and cut leaves horizontally to create thin strips > finely slice remaining stems and add to salad > roll basil similarly and cut into thin strips > dress lightly with balsamic and olive oil

chardchard 2chard 3

Grilled Pineapple

Grill the dang pineapple

pineapple

Beer pairing: Odell’s Myrcenary Double IPA

For the hound: lamb jerky


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a very Huckleberry Valentine’s Day

Can you feel the love?

Well you should, because Grant and I are now celebrating 5 happy years of being together. Perhaps this is more shocking than me taking organic chemistry? Grant is a saint. He still doesn’t know I cook with onions.

Since we’re talking about romance and chemistry, I’ve got to let you know there’s a lot of chemistry between Grant and I.

Yes. Rather than a date, I will spend Valentine’s Day in Chemistry room 103 from 7-9 pm taking my first organic chemistry exam. That’s how much I love food. My nutrition nuptial has guided me away from a Valentine’s feast and instead, crammed into a stadium of 300 other miserable health science majors.

What, no reservations?! Thank god.

Call me crazy but I’d rather be drawing orgo functional groups than taking on any Valentine’s restaurant dysfunctional group.

What exactly is romantic about eating from a mediocre menu (chef’s slammed) spitting distance away from obnoxiously perfumed amateurs? No but really. Who wants to spend a supposed intimate evening with hordes of other couples? Your waiter’s mood sucks. And your date’s expectations are usually as high as the wine mark-up… and rarely met.

Bon Appetit agrees:

“Never, ever go out to eat on Valentine’s Day. Why? It’s amateur night. Picture hundreds of people going through airport security who haven’t flown in 15 years and you get the idea. Oh, and the staff are cranky (Who wants to be around all that romance?) Makes that $36 prix fixe seem like less of a deal, right?” – BA

Right.

I’m not a date hater. I just have a slew of reasons why we opt for a home-cooked meal on Valentine’s Day. On most days for that matter. In fact, we try to limit eating out to once a week. Now it’s my job to try to talk you into it.

Recipe for love

What’s love? A from scratch meal that requires inspiration, time, imagination, motivation, planning, generosity, creativity and expression. Very few things measure up to the thoughtfulness of a heart and hand crafted date (and you both get to put down a bottle of wine without the pressure of stepping up to be designated driver). Even better, cook together.

Menu: Bon Appetit’s got Valentine’s Day on lock.

Wine: Food and Wine’s best bargain wines.

Bon appetit

You’ve got (survival) skills

If you can cook, you’re self sufficient. You can make decisions. That’s attractive. Cooking is a lost art. A desirable rarity. Not everyone is lucky enough to find a mate that can cook. Show it off. Show your lover you’re brilliant by creating a meal that incorporates all disciplines: art, science, math, reading and most importantly, good taste and judgment. Cooking is survival. It’s sexy. Real men cook.

Real men cook

“Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.” Napolean Dynamite

Restaurants are a treat

I love exploring restaurants and indulging in downtown desserts. But we try to reserve them as treats. When restaurants become regular and routine, they start to lose their magic. When I was younger, eating out was special. In attempt to preserve the specialness of restaurants, Grant and I vow to try to eat out once a week. Knowing we only get one treat a week, we select restaurants with menus we know we can’t match in our kitchen. Dishes-less date nights have never been so appreciated. And my jeans have never fit so well.

With all the money we’re saving from eating out less, we’re buying better groceries and making killer meal plans. We know you’re busy. We’re busy too. How do we pull it off? We designate a part of our Sunday to meal planning for the whole week. It requires work upfront, but pays off during the week when you’re more stretched for time. We create a calendar that maps out efficient use of leftovers and spare groceries. Benefits?

–          Illustrating your weekly menu helps you visualize nutrient intake. Are we getting enough protein? Vegetables? Fruit?

–          Saves time by eliminating daily trips to the grocery store.

–          Keeps budget in check

–          No more “What are we doing for dinner?” arguments.

E card

There’s a bunch of meal planning tools out there, but I just use this template. It works just fine.

Save your heart

What about and well done animal flesh and fudge with a shelf life says “Happy Valentine’s Day”? Unhappy Valentine’s Day if you consider the heart burn (the wrong kind of heart burn). That goes for a lot of restaurant food.

I’m not saying that every restaurant serves unhealthy food. But when restaurants like Cheesecake Factory prove they have the ability to pack 3,120 calories, 89 grams of saturated fat and 1,090 milligrams of sodium into something sounding as harmless as Bistro Shrimp Pasta, it’s hard not to wonder if they’re all bad guys out to get us.

Cheesecake Factory

[CNN displays America’s restaurant dishonor roll]

There’s a reason eating out is often cited as the main source of an unhealthy lifestyle. According to USA Today, there’s a better than 9 in 10 chance that your restaurant entrée fails to meet federal nutrition recommendations for calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat. That’s alarming.

This has been proven by the correlation between America’s eating out habit and obesity epidemic. Restaurants strive to make irresistible dishes so you come back. Butter, sugar, cream, salt. They are interested in your wallet, not your health. Where exactly did you think “saucy” “creamy” “sizzling” goes in your body?

So when people ask me “What’s the 1 thing I can do to lose weight?” I tell them to start taking responsibility for their meals. Prepare your own food. Know exactly what food you’re putting in your body. Know where your food comes from.

You can reclaim your health and weight by simply being in control of your home menu.

Save your heart this Valentine’s Day.

With love,

H.T.