Since our new Soul Salt Soak has warming and aromatic cardamom, we thought that a great pairing for showing some love would be these soft and chewy cookies full of warming spices! These cookies (which happen to also be gluten free and can be made vegan) also have an extra boost of magnesium from the almond flour, dates, and pecans, and even the blackstrap molasses adds some extra magnesium, calcium, potassium. Perfect to make for your sweetie, your kiddos… or for yourself!
NOTE: If you love spices, feel free to add more ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom!
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream together butter, date paste, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pecans, and salt. Add to butter and sugar blend a little at a time and mix well.
Drop 2-inch balls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet (If you have parchment paper to line your cookie sheet, it will help the cookies come off really easily) and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake 12-13 minutes, watching to make sure they don’t begin to burn on the bottom. Remove carefully with a spatula - they will be soft and chewy! Cool on wire racks. Enjoy with people you love!
Makes at least 2 dozen large cookies.
* Ingredient Substitutions
This recipe can be made vegan. To replace the butter, we actually used Miyoko’s cultured vegan salted butter made from cashews. You can also replace the two eggs with 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed mixed into 6 tbsp of water and allowed to stand 10-15 minutes. (The flax eggs will work in this recipe; however, know that the cookies will be extra soft!)
To make this recipe nut free, all purpose flour or gluten free flour blends can be used instead of almond flour, and leave out pecans.
If you do not have dates, replace the 8 dates + 1/2 cup sugar with 2 cups of sugar.
Black-eyed peas are a well known food of the African diaspora, making their way to the United States with people who were enslaved and becoming a staple of soul food and southern foodways in general. In the United States, they are often eaten with rice for New Year’s Day and are the perfect recipe to feature for our first January 2022 newsletter!
Unfortunately, African American and southern foods are often (and quite wrongly) deemed unhealthy by the wellness community. The truth is that many of these dishes are full of vegetables and legumes and very nutrient dense! Black-eyed peas, rice, and collard greens are all particularly high in magnesium and are a great, nourishing way to start the New Year or eat anytime you want a satisfying boost of minerals during a cold and snowy Buffalo winter!
Rather than printing a recipe here, we’re going to direct you to the Shondaland website for Noelle Carter's interview with culinary journalist Toni Tipton-Martin and her recipe for Black-eyed peas and rice as well as Gumbo Z’herbes with collard greens. We would also highly recommend checking out her book Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking for a wealth of recipes and historical information.
Here is her brief history of Watch Night and the significance of these foods:
Watch Night Service is a gathering of the faithful to bring in the New Year with spirituals, prayers, and testimony. The celebration began on “Freedom’s Eve,” December 31, 1862, when enslaved people gathered in churches to await the news that the Emancipation Proclamation had set them free. With the news came shouts of jubilation and gratitude. Today, the service includes reflection, praise, and worship to God for His provision and protection.
Folklore in the “Penn School & Sea Islands Heritage Cookbook” described the Carolina Lowcountry this way: “Early on New Year’s Eve, the pots begin to cook, as the meal for New Year’s day must be done by Midnight. The menu for New Year’s Day is a simple one: Hoppin’ John, collard greens with hog jowls, and ribs for a side dish. Hoppin’ John, or brown field peas cooked with rice, is eaten for good luck throughout the year. The collard greens represent dollar bills. It is said the more one eats, the more luck and money one will have.”
This adaptation of Hoppin’ John appeared in “Aunt Julia’s Cook Book,” a collection of Atlantic Coast recipes published in the 1930s by the Standard Oil Company.
May these delicious foods help you to start 2022 in a healthy and delicious way!
This recipe is a delicious and satisfying way to use local harvest vegetables that are in season right now. Choose acorn, delicata, or butternut squash - use any squash that looks good in the grocery store or your CSA box!
The recipe includes wild rice, kale, and walnuts (which are all high in magnesium and other minerals), and don't forget to save and roast those squash seeds to put on top - squash and pumpkin seeds are some of the most magnesium rich foods you can eat!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Start cooking wild rice according to package directions - it will take longer than white or brown rice, usually about 45 minutes after bringing it to a boil!
Brush the insides of the squash with 2 tblsp olive oil or butter and sprinkle with ½ tsp of the sage as well as salt and pepper. Place squash cut side up on tinfoil lined cookie sheet and roast for 45-50 minutes (or until fork tender).
While squash is roasting, line a small cookie sheet with tinfoil. Toss squash seeds with 1 tsp olive oil and spread them on the cookie sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with sea salt and roast on separate rack in 400 degree oven for 8 minutes or until lightly toasted.
Heat the other 2 tblsp olive oil or butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add chopped mushrooms and cook 3-5 minutes until they start to brown. Add sausage and cook until browned as well. Add apple and walnuts and cook until apple starts to soften. Add kale and cook until wilted. When wild rice is done cooking, add it to skillet and stir to combine with the rest of the stuffing ingredients. Season stuffing with the other ½ tsp of sage, ½ tsp thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. (If you are using fresh herbs, you may find that you need more.)
Scoop filling from skillet into acorn squash halves and return to oven for 10-15 minutes until it starts to brown on top. Sprinkle with roasted squash seeds and serve!
You will likely have extra filling. It can be eaten on its own as leftovers the next day or frozen to use for a quick stuffed squash dinner in the future!
Recipe: Oatmeal Chia Cookies
Maybe you’re a new parent without a lot of time or energy. Or maybe you’re going to visit a friend or family member who has just had a baby, and you want to bring something that will be helpful. How about some Oatmeal Chia Cookies?
The recipe for these cookies comes from Brittany Mullins’ blog, Eating Bird Food. They are full of magnesium-rich and nutrient-dense ingredients like chia seeds, almond milk, almond butter, oats, dates, and dark chocolate chips, all of which can help give new parents the energy they need as they navigate physical and emotional changes, find new routines, and work through the anxieties of caring for a baby.
Also, the oats are a great ingredient for helping with lactation! (Brittany’s blog even has a recipe for Healthy Lactation Cookies and Lactation Bites if you are looking specifically for help with healthy breastfeeding!)
But these oatmeal chia breakfast cookies are great for a quick healthy and yummy breakfast that can be made ahead of time and grabbed on the fly to eat during a nursing or pumping session or just a midday snack whenever there’s a free moment!
Click the link above to go to the recipe!
Recipe: Build Your Own Snack
Need a quick magnesium-rich snack for your kids? (Or, let’s be honest, for yourself too?)
This snack is customizable (easy to change up for allergies, gluten or dairy sensitivity, etc.) and fun to eat! Nut and seed butters are high in magnesium and also provide healthy fat and protein so the fruit and toppings don’t cause a spike and crash in blood sugar. And... fall apple and pear season is about to be in full swing in WNY! Below are ingredients you can combine in sweet or savory ways to build your snack.
(Foods marked with * are known to be high in magnesium.)
Choose (and slice) the base to hold your spread and toppings:
Choose a spread:
Choose a topping (or two!) and sprinkle on top:
The options are endless! A pear, sunbutter, chocolate chips, and coconut. Or whole grain bread, hard boiled egg, cheese, and pickles, The ingredients can be layered, or the spreads and toppings can simply be used as a dip. Sometimes we even make entire meals from the choices above - kids can pick their favorites to combine, and having a couple of more “grown up” items on the table can even encourage them to try something new!
Recipe: Immune Support Smoothies
One thing that can help to maintain your immune system and protect yourself against illness is consuming high magnesium foods (especially a wide range of green leafy vegetables) as frequently as possible.
We both make smoothies on a near-daily basis and have found that this practice has boosted our energy levels, helped our digestion, and allowed us to generally maintain good health. Here are our recipes! Simply combine in a blender. Each recipe makes a smoothie for one person.
*Cooking your greens can help them to be more digestible. Also, if you have an underactive (hypo) thyroid, cooking your greens can help to reduce the levels of goitrogenic compounds in them! They can be cooked ahead of time and stored in a container in the fridge.
If you want to include or substitute other forms or protein, you can always add a couple tablespoons of magnesium-rich peanut butter or other nut butter!
Need a great summer meal that is high in magnesium and nutrient dense but also light and incredibly flavorful? Puerto Rican gazpacho is your answer! It’s a salted cod fish salad with avocado and tomato, and our friend Mayra Luz Colón from Nutrition Dork (read more about her amazing business in our Local Business Love section!) has a fabulous recipe for gazpacho on her website! Instead of printing the recipe here, we encourage you to use the link to her website so you can see all of her other amazing recipes as well!
Mayra also has a recipe for mofongo (mashed plantains) on her website and a recipe for tostones (fried plantains with adobo) in her ebook. Plantains are high in magnesium, but are sadly left off of many magnesium-rich food lists even though they have more magnesium than bananas!
We also want to add that it’s always easier to include magnesium rich and nutrient dense foods in your lifestyle when they’re flavorful! Along with all of the tasty Puerto Rican dishes Mayra offers on her website and in her ebook (which is absolutely worth getting in the set if you’re trying her spices for the first time!), we also use her adobo in other ways, such as sprinkling it on avocado halves or avocado toast, and even using adobo and sazón in black bean soup or taco fillings made from beef, pork, jackfruit, or even shredded mushrooms!
AND… along with graciously allowing us to link to her recipes above, Mayra has just released her cookbook to give us all even MORE healthy and delicious recipes! It’s titled Healthy Rican: Put the Latin Spice in your Healthy Life and it’s available here on Amazon! Congratulations to Mayra on working so hard on creating this cookbook and getting it out there into the world for people to learn from and enjoy cooking from!
Recipe: Bedtime Reishi Cacao Drink
Need something that's not a snack or glass of wine to help you wind down and even satisfy your sweet tooth? Make a jar of this natural reishi mushroom drink mix with magnesium-rich cacao powder to blend into a mug of your warm milk (dairy or non-dairy) of choice after you've applied your Sleep Balm and you'll be in dreamland in no time!
Reishi mushrooms are adaptogenic, which means they can help you to manage stress. They are also great for your immune system as they are known to up-regulate OR down-regulate your immune system to function properly. The spices in the recipe are warming and great for circulation.
Ingredients and supplies:
Makes approximately 16 servings (1 tblsp of mix)
To prep the drink mix ahead of time, add reishi mushroom powder, cacao powder, ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, ground ginger, and sea salt to the mason jar. (If you know you love cayenne, add it right into the mix! Otherwise, you can experiment with a small pinch when you prepare your bedtime drink in case you don’t like it.) Screw the lid on and shake to mix and store.
To prepare at bedtime, heat 6-8 oz of milk of choice in a small pot on the stove or in the microwave. Pour milk into a mug (best if you can use a large mug to have room to blend without splashing), add a tablespoon of the reishi cacao mix, sweetener if desired, and blend. A battery powered handheld milk frother will work best to ensure that the mix is fully blended with no lumps or residue on the bottom of the mug. If you do not have a milk frother, you may want to whisk the powder right into the pot on the stove. Put on your Sleep Balm and socks, drink your reishi cacao, read a book or meditate, and be cozy :)
Also, if you want to try this cacao drink and don’t want to mix it yourself, Four Sigmatic sells Mushroom Cacao with Reishi in packets that are super easy to use! We have used it often in the past but we personally prefer the option to make it ourselves without a sweetener. Their mushrooms are very good quality, though, and we certainly recommend them. Their packets are also fantastic for travel or sending care packages to loved ones in need of some wellness!