How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally | Bloom & NourishDuring cold and flu season, or really anytime of the year, there are certain foods, supplements, and natural remedies that can help give your immune system the boost it needs to build a strong foundation for the future.  This means you will get sick less frequently, and if you do get sick, your body should be able to better fight whatever virus invaded your system and recover more quickly. Continue reading

Banoffee Pie


banoffee pie (gluten free, dairy free)| bloom & nourish

banoffee pie (gluten free, dairy free)| bloom & nourish

Ok, so I’ll be honest, I’ve never had banoffee pie before, but I’ve been craving it!  Is it even possible to crave something you’ve never had? I would say it is!  I had heard of this ‘banoffee pie’ before, but it wasn’t until I watched Chef April Bloomfield whip one up on The Mind of a Chef (which is a must see show on PBS for all you food lovers out there!) that I started dreaming up making one of my own.  While watching the show, I began brainstorming a way to make this traditional English pastry a bit healthier and I think I succeeded. Tell me what you think! Continue reading

Immune Boosting Pink Lemonade Smoothie

Immune Boosting Pink Lemonade Smoothie | Bloom & NourishAs the cold weather is upon us now here in Nashville, I’ve been thinking of ways to boost my  immune system, as it tends to be compromised more during this season.  So I created this refreshing immune boosting smoothie!  However, you can drink this smoothie any time of the year, even while trying to strengthen your immune system during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

It’s actually smoothie month at Williams-Sonoma and this week’s theme was “Not Your Average Smoothie” so I thought turning a smoothie into something that boosts your immune system and wards off colds would be a good place to start.  It’s a nice tart smoothie with an optional kick that reminds me of the green lemonade juices I’ve been drinking, but instead it’s beautifully pink from the bright red raspberries.

Immune Boosting Pink Lemonade Smoothie | Bloom & Nourish

Here’s what I threw into my blender + why it’s good for you:

  • Greens: Greens like kale, collard, swiss chard, and spinach are nutritional powerhouses packed with vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, that strengthen your immune system and ward off colds.
  • Orange/Tangerine: Oranges are full of vitamins A + C which help promote production of white blood cells to fight off any foreign invaders, and folate which you need for healthy cell growth. Those looking to get pregnant or are already pregnant will benefit from including folate into their diet as it essential for healthy development of the baby in the mother’s womb, particularly the formation of the neural tube.
  • Lemons and berries: Both are rich in vitamin C and immune boosting antioxidants.
  • Ginger: Ginger is a strong antioxidant that has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Turmeric + Cayenne (optional): Both turmeric and cayenne are very nutrient dense spices, which support your immune system through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

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Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup (Zupa Toscana) | Bloom & NourishSausage, Potato, and Kale Soup (Zupa Toscana) | Bloom & NourishFall is now upon us and I thought it fitting to share a recipe for a hearty soup.  Last night my husband said he was craving a savory soup called Zuppa Toscana he used to eat at a chain restaurant called Olive Garden.  While I have never had the soup myself, I did some researching and was determined to come up with a healthy version of this nostalgic stew to nourish and fill our bellies.  Watching my husband fill his bowl with seconds leads me to believe I did something right.

Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup (Zupa Toscana) | Bloom & NourishSausage, Potato, and Kale Soup (Zupa Toscana) | Bloom & Nourish

Ingredients:
1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
1 lb ground beef or pork sausage (or see notes below and make your own, like I did)
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp smoked sea salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
8 cups high quality beef or chicken stock (make your own)
4-6 gold potatoes, diced
4 cups kale, stemmed and torn into pieces
1 cup full fat coconut milk (see notes)
salt + pepper, to taste

Directions:
In a large dutch oven or stockpot melt ghee over medium heat.  Add in sausage and cook until browned.  Next throw in your diced onions, paprika, smoked sea salt, and red pepper flakes and cook until onions soften.  Add in crushed garlic and saute until fragrant.  Pour in your stock and potatoes.  Bring soup to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer until potatoes are almost cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Next add kale.  Then slowly stir in the coconut milk.  Continue to stir until kale is wilted and potatoes are cooked through.  Season to taste with salt + pepper.  Serve!

Notes:
Make your own sausage by adding the following seasonings to 1 lb ground pork or beef: 1/2 tbsp oregano, 1/2 tbsp rosemary, 1/2 tbsp thyme.
A note on coconut milk: Try to get a coconut milk without any gums, stabilizers, or preservatives.  I found mine in the frozen section of my local international market.  When adding the milk to the soup, be sure the heat isn’t too high (medium low works fine) and that you are stirring frequently after adding.  This ensures the fats and the proteins in the coconut milk will stay bonded, rather than curdling and separating.

Green Monkey Lactation Smoothie

green monkey lactation smoothie | bloom & nourishSome of you know, but others may not realize that along with loving good food, I am also a birth doula and a holistic health counselor, focused on supporting women during the childbearing years.  For a few years now, I have been passionate about helping mamas and mamas-to-be, ensuring they are getting the education and support they need while pregnant, breastfeeding, or prepping for pregnancy.  I feel it an honor to work with women and their families during such an intimate and beautiful time of their lives.  So if you see a little bit more of a focus towards pregnancy, and the like, that is why.  Don’t worry, I’ll still be posting delicious recipes for everyone, but some may have a bit more of a focus towards nourishing nutrients for mama and baby.  If you have any questions, or are interested in how I can support you, as a mama or mama-to-be, feel free to shoot me a message!

green monkey lactation smoothie | bloom & nourish

What mom doesn’t need a little more energy after having a baby?  This smoothie is an easy and delicious way to boost your energy, as well as your breastmilk supply.  Essential fatty acids, such as coconut oil and nuts, and foods high in omega 3, like flax seeds, increase your energy and milk supply.  Spinach, high in phytoestrogens, promotes healthy breast tissue and lactation, and this smoothie is an easy way of incorporating those greens into your daily routine.  Did you know healthy fats, like coconut oil, have some of the highest concentrations of energy out of all nutrients?  Fat is also essential for hormone production, which will help your body produce a fattier, more nutritious breastmilk for baby.  Drink up! It’s delicious way to start your day, whether you are lactating or not. Continue reading

Roasted Potato, Greens, and Goat Cheese Frittata

 roasted potato, greens, and goat cheese frittata | bloom & nourish

Yesterday was the first day of Spring and I could not be more excited. It’s amazing what the sunshine and warm air does for your spirit.  To me, spring signifies change-it symbolizes the change from brown to green, from cold to warm, from bare bushes to colorful blooms, and it is symbolizing much change in my life right now.  This is a season of transition for me, and while it may not always be easy and it’s often times scary, it is exciting and full of so much life and beauty.

“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”
-Reinhold Niebuhr

 roasted potato, greens, and goat cheese frittata | bloom & nourish

If you haven’t noticed, I have a thing for frittatas.  I was talking to a good friend on the phone as I was making this for the second time (in two days!) and she asked what I was making for dinner.  When I told her I was making a frittata, she laughed and said, “Of course you are!”  It’s too good not to.  I brought this particular frittata over to a dear friend’s birthday brunch one day, and the next I found myself making it for dinner.  It also makes great leftovers, which I love, and it’s easily adaptable to whatever vegetables and spices you have on hand.  If you’ve never made a frittata, give it a try and let me know what you think.

 roasted potato, greens, and goat cheese frittata | bloom & nourish

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Crispy Coconut Kale with Roasted Salmon + Sweet Potatoes and Coconut Rice

Crispy Coconut Kale with Roasted Salmon + Sweet Potatoes and Coconut Rice | Bloom & Nourish{photo by James Ransom}

(This recipe was featured in Gwyneth Paltrow’s publication, Goop, for Best Dark Leafy Greens and is a community pick for Food 52: Favorite Leafy Greens.)

Roasting kale is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this hearty winter green. The edges become nice and crispy, which is the perfect contrast to the melt in your mouth sweet potatoes. This dish is a great balance of sweet and spicy and has quickly become one of my favorite meals to serve when I have guests over. If you’re not into salmon, try topping the greens with a fried egg! It’s simple and delicious and makes for some great leftovers (if there is any)!

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