Elaine Javier

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Access Bars Practitioner, and Catholic Homeschooling Mom and Blogger

Creating a healthier and happier world using the very best food, herbs, and holistic modalities. Let’s start healing with ease and joy physically, emotionally, and spiritually!

Filtering by Tag: local CNY

Spring, Sneezing, And Allergies

20180530_153409.jpg

I’ve always loved spring.  To me I’ve always associated it with hope, love, and beauty.  I love the new flowers that start to pop up and the green blades of grass. When I start to see dandelions I know that spring has arrived.

In my elementary school years I was pretty healthy.  I hardly ever got sick or missed school.  My brother on the other hand suffered from asthma and allergies.  My dad used to joke that he was allergic to everything except girls.  

When I worked in the corporate world I noticed that I was getting sick all the time so I scheduled doctor appointments frequently.  I remember going every week for about a month.  Each time I visited the doctor he’d give me some Claritin.  I eventually figured out that the Claritin did nothing for me and that it was the stress from work and my poor diet that was causing my allergies.  When I left the corporate world and fixed my diet my allergies went away.

When someone suffers from allergies it’s a gut issue or an autoimmune condition. I’ve seen it and studied it many times.  Whether it’s environmental or food allergies anyone can heal them.  I’ve been advocating the solution for some time now.  Eat organic, local, and seasonal.

Not everyone understands the concept of eating local and seasonal.  It’s pretty simple.  If something doesn’t grow in your area don’t eat it or don’t eat it all the time. People don’t understand this idea because we have access to foods from all over the world in grocery stores.  I live in New York but bananas don’t grow here.  I rarely eat bananas because they're not part of my environment and they won’t strengthen my microbiome.   

This is why I’m big into CSAs and I believe this is the reason why my immune system over the last three years has improved immensely.  Before I moved to New York my gut health was not its best.  I had just gone through a few traumatic years of health problems.  I was so weak and so vitamin deficient I thought that I was dying.  

People don’t have to suffer.  People don’t have to accept a sick body.  Get with a certified health coach or wellness practitioner.  Run past the fear and trust the process because this process that I and many others teach really does work.

I Too Believe In Syracuse

Something great is happening in Central New York.  Most recently a native who had moved back to the area started a new farm to table foodie place called The Stoop Kitchen in Armory Square.  I loved what he wrote in his blog page.  (If you get a chance you should read it as it is quite inspiring.)  Syracuse is being resurrected with already established farm to table restaurants and new up and coming ones.  Believe me.  The heat is on in Syracuse.

Syracuse is full of pleasant surprises.  Just a week and a half ago I meandered through East Syracuse with my friend and my son and discovered a wonderful gem of a place. 

Upon entering Kosta's Pizza House, I saw right away the heart and soul of Syracuse in this small 30 year old establishment.  There was nothing fancy here.   It wasn't pretentious or particularly attractive, but its appeal goes beyond its physical appearance.  What I saw was a good man making people happy by making delicious food and interacting with customers warmly and genuinely.  Everyone is treated like family.  

I love that Kosta is known as the Doctor of Hunger.  People are not only hungry physically but they are hungry emotionally and spiritually.  That's what makes Kosta's Pizza House so special.  Kosta feeds the Syracuse community physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  

That is what I felt when I met Kosta for the first time.  He not only fed me the best Greek pizza I have ever tasted in my life but I also experienced community and generosity.  I easily understood why people keep coming back here.    

As I introduced myself as Elaine and my son Constantine, he instantly connected with me.  He enthusiastically said with a smile, "Oh, St. Eleni and St. Konstantinos!  You must remember May 21.  It's a big feast day!"  He said he always celebrates on May 21.  So guess where I'll be this coming May 21!  Kosta's, of course!

A college friend asked me not too long ago, "Why Syracuse?!"  And I now say, "Why not?"  While we have lived in the Syracuse area for only a short time, we have met good people, made dear friends, and had so many positive experiences.  There is goodness, kindness and warmth in this community that we now call home.  Like the owner of The Stoop Kitchen who believes in the future of this city, the number and variety of good restaurants has exceeded my expectations.  If this is an indication of Syracuse's culinary future, then I too believe in Syracuse.

Upon entering Kosta’s Pizza house, I saw right away the heart and soul of Syracuse in this small 30 year old establishment.
A college friend asked me not too long ago, “Why Syracuse?!”  And I now say, “Why not?”

Local Spaghetti

Since becoming a New Yorker I've been embracing New York products and services because I believe in supporting our local economy.  I think it's natural to be proud of where one lives and what the area offers.  

Not too long ago I was messaging my cousin recommending my favorite gluten free pasta brands on Thrive Market.  As she was browsing the site she excitedly informed me that Thrive Market carries Rao's marinara sauce.  Rao's is one of the best Italian restaurants in New York and has been bottling their special sauce for years because it's that popular. 

So I decided to order some bottles of Rao's marinara sauce and give it a try in making spaghetti sauce.  I think the results were spectacular so every time I make spaghetti sauce I use Rao's.  I love the product and I love that it's from New York! Now I just need to make it into New York City and reserve a seat at one of Rao's restaurants.  

I like meat in my spaghetti sauce so I use either local, pasture raised sweet Italian sausage or local, grass fed ground beef from my CSA Greyrock Farm in Cazenovia.  They sell quality meats and it really makes a difference in taste.

I also add anchovies.  Anchovies are one of those important foods that is so overlooked.  People immediately think, "Yuck, I will never eat anchovies.  It's smelly and gross."  They have it all wrong -- anchovies are true brain food.  And if your children don't like anchovies, just don't tell them that you put it in their spaghetti sauce.  They will never know!

I recommend using as much local, organic produce as possible.  I am fortunate because my CSA carries a lot of the ingredients I use for my spaghetti sauce.  I also don't mind traveling to other local, organic farms for my vegetables.  

This spaghetti sauce is so flavorful and delicious, and like most sauces, its taste improves if aged a day or two.  If I can get the pickiest eaters that I know to eat it I think it's a winner!


Special Spaghetti Sauce

 

Ingredients

1 bottle of Rao's marinara sauce 

2 to 3 garlic cloves minced

1/4 to 1/2 onion chopped well

3 to 4 anchovies

1 tbsp of freshly chopped  rosemary, sage, thyme

1/3 pound of sweat Italian sausage or ground beef (my meat is grass fed or pasture raised and local from Greyrock Farm), optional

1 to 2 cups filtered water

Himalayan pink sea salt

Flat parsley as garnish

 

Directions

In a large stainless steel pot, brown the sausage.  Add the onion and a dash or two of Himalayan pink sea salt to break up the cellulose fiber and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic. Saute for a minute.  Mash in the anchovies and mix in with the other ingredients.  Add the marinara sauce, the herbs, and the water.  Simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Try this with a good organic pasta preferably made in Italy.  If you want to try gluten free pasta, try Jovial or Ancient Harvest brands.  

Resources for Clean Eating

Sign up for one of my programs!

My ON FIRE 6 Month Health Coaching Program

My 3 Month Health Coaching Program

My 1 Month Health Coaching Program

Shop and Chop Days

Since becoming a New Yorker I’ve been embracing New York products and services because I believe in supporting our local economy.

Mushroom And Beef Stroganoff

One of the neat things that my family and I did this summer was participate in the Open Farm Day event in Madison County in Central New York.  We spent a whole Saturday visiting three local farms in our area.  

My main interest for this event was to see the mushroom farm Fruit of the Fungi.  Since it's hard to find local, organic mushrooms the idea of touring this mushroom farm was such a unique opportunity I couldn't pass it up.  

If you've been following me for a while you know about my fascination with mushrooms.  Why mushrooms?  Mushrooms are medicinal.  There are certain ones that will help control blood sugar and even help ward off cancer.  Mushrooms are certainly one of Mother Nature's gifts to us.  

Fruit of the Fungi has been growing a number of certified organic mushrooms like shiitake, reishi, lion's mane, and king trumpet for ten years.  They also sell a wonderful variety of mushroom powders and dried mushrooms.  I love the versatility of the mushroom powders. I have been adding it in a lot of my dishes.  I've even used the powder as a gluten free breading for tuna cakes.

One of the perks that I got from visiting Fruit of the Fungi besides seeing how they grow their mushrooms was picking up some of their delicious mushroom recipes.  One of the recipes that I had to try right away was their stroganoff recipe.

This recipe is a winner!  You can make adjustments when needed or to one's preference.  This recipe can be prepared dairy free and gluten free.  Mushrooms really make this meal packing it with so much flavor.  I like using shiitake and cremini mushrooms.  I've tried other combinations but that's my personal preference.  The original recipe called for venison but I used grass fed sirloin steak instead.  I've also used grass fed tenderloin and that works great, too.  

I like to use local organic wheat pasta with this recipe.  For those in Central York New my favorite pasta at the moment is Flour City Pasta.  I like fettuccine for this recipe but any one will work really well.  If you would like to avoid wheat, you could use gluten free pasta, organic rice or mash potatoes.  For a gluten free pasta option I've also tried organic quinoa pasta shells by Ancient Harvest.  It's pretty good.  

Since coming across this recipe I've made it several times adding my own spin to it.  I think this is a recipe that really can't go wrong.  Even my four year old can't get enough of it.  Like I've mentioned I love the mushroom powder.  I believe that it helps thicken the sauce a bit.  If you don't use mushroom powder you could add a few tablespoons of pasta water until you like the consistency of the sauce.  Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.  I love this recipe and I hope you and your loved ones do too!


Mushroom and Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients

3 tbsp grass fed butter or ghee

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped very small

Freshly ground pepper

Himalayan pink sea salt

1/8 to 1/4 cup red wine or brandy

4 cups shiitake and cremini mushrooms (and/or mix with king trumpets and oysters)

1 lb grass fed sirloin steak, grass fed tenderloin, or venison, cut into thin strips

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp mushroom powder

1 cup homemade beef or mushroom stock

1 cup organic crème fraiche or 3/4 cup organic sour cream (dairy free sour cream is available at health food stores if you're on a dairy free diet)

1 tsp brown mustard

3 or 4 sprigs flat parsley, chopped

Directions

Heat oil and butter in a cast iron pan and saute onions for about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms are just tender.  Remove and set aside.  Add cut steak to the same pan and quickly fry for 3 to 5 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and mushroom powder.  Add wine and continue cooking until alcohol burns off.  Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release all the brown bits, they will add flavor to the sauce.  Add the stock.  Put onions and mushrooms back into the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until everything is heated through and slightly bubbling.  Stir in crème fraiche and mustard well.  Add the parsley.  Serve with pasta, mash potatoes or rice.  Enjoy!

Central New York Favorites

Fruit of the Fungi  You can order their mushroom powders and dried mushrooms on their website.  I highly recommend.  They can also be purchased through Greyrock Farm's CSA program as well as the CNY Regional Market.

Flour City Pasta  I love the texture of this pasta and that it's local and handmade the old traditional Italian style.  I get mine at Greyrock Farm.  

MacDonald Farms Mom's Mustard  I never liked mustard before until I tried this brand.  It's so delicious.  It can also be found at Greyrock Farm.

Resources for Clean Eating

Sign up for one of my programs!

My ON FIRE 6 Month Health Coaching Program

My 3 Month Health Coaching Program

My 1 Month Health Coaching Program

Shop and Chop Days

Mushrooms are medicinal. There are certain ones that will help control blood sugar and even help ward off cancer. Mushrooms are certainly one of Mother Nature’s gifts to us.

Affiliate Disclosure - This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

Best Burgers

I got the best compliment not too long ago.  It was really sweet and it warmed my heart.  We had our very good friends over for dinner.  I decided to serve something delicious and kid-friendly because I knew that our friends' youngest is a picky eater.  

After dinner our friends' youngest came up to me and softly whispered, "That was my favorite dinner."  I was so surprised but very touched.

Just a couple of weeks ago my husband and I packed lunch for my parents who were returning back to Virginia.  They spent almost two wonderful weeks with us visiting and exploring our area in Central New York. 

Midway through their trip I got a call from my mom.  She said that they were about to board again and that my dad asked her, "Why do Elaine's burgers taste better than mine?"

So good old fashioned burgers it was but with a healthy twist!

What makes these burgers are the local, organic ingredients that I put in them.  Fresh and local is really best!    

It's important to find top quality, premium ground beef.  I get my ground beef from our CSA in Cazenovia, New York.  Greyrock Farm sells grass fed meats sourced from local farmers.  I've tasted grass fed meats from the grocery store and sincerely they cannot compare to the grass fed and pasture raised meats I buy from Greyrock Farm.

 Another important ingredient in making the best homemade burgers is to use pasture raised eggs.  Pasture raised eggs are not the same as organic eggs, cage free eggs, or vegetarian fed eggs.  Pasture raised eggs have incredibly deep orange colored yolks and have more vitamins than all the other eggs out there.  So look for pasture raised eggs at the grocery.  Better yet find a CSA or local farmer who raises chickens out in the open pastures.  Happy chickens will lay the healthiest, most nutrient dense eggs.

Herbs give this burger recipe nice flavor and added health benefits.  Many people overlook culinary herbs but they can actually help with certain ailments.  I love using a variety of herbs for this recipe.  You can get organic herbs in the grocery store but I especially like growing my own in my vintage herb planter.

So here you go!  Try my favorite healthy burger recipe.  It's perfect for summer cookouts or just whenever you're craving a delicious homemade burger.    

 

Best Burgers

Ingredients

1/8 to 1/4 cup organic onion, minced

1 pasture raised egg

1 lb local grass fed ground beef

1 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt or to taste

About 3 tbsp organic herbs like parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, etc., chopped finely

Condiments like organic ketchup, local mustard, avocado oil mayo, organic lettuce, organic tomato, organic bun (wheat or gluten free)

 

Directions

Place all the ingredients except the condiments in a large mixing bowl and mix well.  Shape your burgers into 4 equally sized burgers.  Grill or pan fry your burgers.  Place on toasted hamburger buns and add condiments. Enjoy!

Central New York Local Favorite

MacDonald Farms Mom's Zesty Brown Mustard.  I've never really been a mustard fan until I tasted this brand.  If you live in Central New York you need to pick up this mustard.  It is so good in burgers and any kind of sandwich or recipe that calls for mustard.  Look for raw local mustard in your area!

Resources for Clean Eating

Sign up for one of my programs!

My ON FIRE 6 Month Health Coaching Program

My 3 Month Health Coaching Program

My 1 Month Health Coaching Program

Shop and Chop Days

What makes these burgers are the local, organic ingredients that I put in them.  Fresh and local is really best!

Affiliate Disclosure - This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Local, Local, Local

When I was still in a fast-paced corporate life, I often heard the mantra location, location, location.  Fast forward ten years later and the world as I know it has changed.  Now my favorite phrase is local, local, local.

I have gladly changed gears and careers.  I got out of the corporate rat race and competing with the Joneses mentality for a kinder, slower paced and relaxed lifestyle much better suited to who and where I am today.   I'm so glad I did because at the rate I was going I was headed towards a heart attack.  Plus I like myself a hundred times better now.

So why have I adopted local, local, local?  Why do I live by it as much as possible and I promote it to everyone I know and meet?  It's simple.  Follow a seasonal, local diet and you will notice a difference in your physical and emotional state and your health will improve greatly.

I used to think that as long as I ate organic I would be getting the very best in nutrition.  Well, that's not necessarily true.  Many people do not consider that grocery stores source food from all over.  You will find produce from different regions of the US and even other countries.  By the time that produce hits the stores there's practically nothing left in nutrients and vitamins.  

And this was one of the reasons that got me sick in the first place.  Even though I was eating organic at the time, I was severely nutrient deficient because my body was unable to absorb nutrients. 

While I'm a proponent of eating organic I am very much in support of patronizing local produce and local farmers who grow without unnecessary chemicals, pesticides and herbicides.  God bless them because who knows how hard they are working to produce good, honest, organic local food!   

Fresh local, organic food is medicine.  I'm willing to spend on high quality, freshly picked, local and organic produce in order to avoid antibiotics and maintenance meds now and in the future.  I am thankful every day that my family and I have been able to steer clear of antibiotics, pharmaceutical drugs, and prescription medicine.  I believe that eating clean, local, and organic food has boosted our immunity.  My four year old son has never been on antibiotics and I'd like to keep it that way for as long as possible.

You might be wondering how to find locally grown organic produce.  One solution would be to have your own organic garden.  Research biodynamic farming and learn how to do organic gardening the right way.  Imagine the convenience of walking out into your backyard to harvest your favorite vegetables and herbs!

If growing your own produce isn't your thing, farmers markets is an alternative.  They are an outstanding place to find local produce and products.  There's a large one in Syracuse called the CNY Regional Market (which is on my list of places to visit).  Cazenovia and Skaneateles have farmers markets as well.     

Finally, consider joining a CSA (community supported agriculture).  Start with  www.localharvest.org to find a local CSA.  CSAs are the solution to the concern that organic is too pricey.  CSAs are great value for what you are getting.  There just is no better deal in town.  Not sure which CSA to join?  Talk to local farmers (especially farmers who grow organic) near you and visit their farms.  They are more than happy to answer questions and many times they will give you a tour of their farm.

Know your farmer.  Eat local and seasonally.  Listen to your body.  To your health and happiness!

Favorites in Central New York

Visit www.localharvest.org to learn about local CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture).

Go see my friend Emily at Greyrock Farm in Cazenovia.  She gives the best customer service and the best ideas for how to prepare the delicious organic food the farm offers.  Greyrock sells grass-fed meats and bones, raw grass-fed milk and many other local dry goods.

Black Brook Organic Farm in Skaneateles has been a certified organic farm for 20 years.  Kendra and Paul grow the best looking organic produce I've ever seen.  Every time we buy the food is super fresh and delectable.  They are also the owners of our favorite farm to food truck in CNY called Potatoes & Molasses.  

Looking to grow your very own herb garden?  Go to Lee's Feed Store in Syracuse.  They sell organic potting soil called Vermont Ag Moo Grow and Moo Doo (cow manure).  Kendra at Black Brook Organic has been using these for years.

The Yard in Manlius is a fun, unique outdoor market open on Sundays.  You can find Black Brook Organic Farm there as well as other local talented vendors.  They have live music, local beer, Ironwood pizza, and more!  

20170329_134741.jpg

Interested in working with a health coach who can help navigate you in this confusing world of nutrition and wellness? Click on Learn More below.

Know your farmer. Eat local and seasonally. Listen to your body.