Dr. Lani Nykilchuk
Naturopathic Family Doctor
Homemade chicken broth is a must have in your kitchen, especially during cold and flu season. I like to make my own broth rather than buy it because you can make it exactly how you like it and there is no sugar or preservatives added (which is often the case with the store brands). The added bonus to making your own broth is that you ensure that all the vitamins and minerals in the nutrient dense bones are pulled out by cooking it for a long time at low temperature and adding an acid (such as apple cider vinegar). If you prepare a roast chicken, make sure to keep the bones and make yourself a broth. The best way to do this without having to worry about it is to add all your ingredients to a crockpot, set it and you’re off! If you don’t have time to make a broth right away- you can freeze the bones for later use.
Now that you have your broth, here is a warming and nourishing soup recipe for cold and flu season. Adding kimchi is a great idea- it’s a fermented food typically made up of cabbage, radish, cucumber with garlic, onion and red chilli pepper. It is loaded with beneficial bacteria, so add it at the very end and serve immediately.
This soup will help clear your nasal passage and bring on sweating, which will speed healing as well as help ward off any nasty bugs that are circulating.
Homemade Chicken Broth
1 organic chicken carcass
12 cups water
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves
sea salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1/2 fennel bulb, 1 bay leaf, 1 piece ginger root, 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 1 sprig fresh thyme, 1 pinch cayenne pepper,
1 handful sage leaves.
In large stove top pot or crock pot- add chicken, water, vinegar, vegetables and herbs. Turn heat to medium high and let broth come to a boil. Once boiling, bring heat down and allow pot to simmer for 6-10 hours.
Strain out chicken and veggies and reserve liquid. Store in mason jars in fridge (for up to 3 days) or freeze for future use.
Chicken Kimchi Soup
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery sticks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 thumb size piece of ginger, minced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 small bunch chard, stems removed and leaves chopped
Optional: 1 large spoonful kimchi (per bowl) or 1 pinch cayenne pepper
Use a medium pot over medium heat to sauté onions, garlic, carrots, celery and ginger in coconut oil for about 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a simmer and let cook 15 minutes until veggies are soft. Turn off heat and add parsley and chards then give it a quick stir to mix these in and lightly cook them. Serve with a dollop of kimchi on top.
The garlic scape is the lesser known edible part of the beloved allium sativum (garlic). It is actually the flowering top of the garlic plant and is important to remove to ensure that all the energy goes to fattening up the delicious bulb that will be harvested in the late summer. So, if they must be removed, why not eat ‘em?
I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy this early summer delicacy since it has been growing widely in the garden. Making it into a pesto is one of the many ways you can enjoy it. Other suggestions include- chopping it up onto pizza, frying the scapes up with a little oil and seasoning and even pickling them.
The garlic scape is milder in flavour compared to the garlic bulb, so can be more versatile in its raw form.
It contains many of the same phyto-chemicals (plant molecules) that are found in the bulb, mainly sulfur-containing compounds, which aids the liver in detoxification, are anti-inflammatory and have heart protective actions.
If you notice these delicious flowers at your local grocery store, farmer’s market or even in your own backyard give them a try.
Interesting Fact: Garlic is part of the lily family.
Garlic Scape Pesto
1 cup garlic scapes, tops removed but saved for later
1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon and zest
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese (sheep cheese) - optional
salt and pepper to taste
Coarsely chop scapes and finely grate cheese. Place all ingredients into food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
Keeps in the fridge up to 1 week in air tight container. Good for freezing.
pasta - toss with your favorite pasta, protein and veg
pizza - a great option instead of tomato sauce
quinoa salad - 1 part quinoa cooked to 1/4 part pesto.
I served this sprinkled with pecorino romano cheese (sheep milk) and some quick fried garlic scape flowers (as seen in the picture) on top and had it with a organic skinless chicken breast (seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil and salt + pepper).
You can also toss the quinoa and pesto with your favorite greens ( I used arugula and basil) and added a little lemon juice and olive oil to dress it up.
The rhubarb in my garden is still growing strong, which has me looking for new ways to use up the stalks that seem to appear over night.
I’ve made some sauces/jams for pancakes and the likes, as well as a few rhubarb crumbles, but this time I decided to go with a square. The lovely thing about fruit squares is that they can easily be made dairy-free, gluten-free and egg-free- making them an option for almost everyone.
If you’re like me and not one to plan out time for baking, here’s my suggestion- choose to bake on a day that you plan to cook with the oven. I will often bake a sweet treat if I am doing pizza or baked yam fries or chicken and pop it in at the end. There is usually some time available while you wait for dinner to bake so this is when you can get your baking set to go in. The best part about planning it this way is that it’s hot-out-of-the-oven just in time for desert.
Strawberry Rhubarb Squares- Vegan/Gluten-Free
8 stalks of rhubarb, chopped
1 pint strawberries, chopped
5 dates, pitted
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp flour (I used quinoa flour but any flour will do)
8 Tbsp coconut oil, softened
1 cup flour ( I used brown rice)
1/2 cup almond meal (or an extra 1/2 cup flour)
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like it- I did ~ a half cup and it had a nice sweetness to it).
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp honey (optional)
For the filling
In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, stir together the rhubarb, strawberry, dates and lemon juice. After letting it cook for about 5 minutes, slowly add 1 tbsp of flour- stirring continuously to avoid clumping. Continue to cook over medium heat for an extra 1-3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.
Preheat oven to 350
For the crust
In a large mixing bowl, place 8 tbsp coconut oil and let bowl sit over oven to allow the radiant heat to soften the oil. Combine flour, almond meal, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and sea salt.
Lightly coat 9”x3” baking dish with coconut oil and then spread 3/4 of the crumb mixture on the bottom. Evenly spread filling over the crust and then sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture on top.
Bake for ~ 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Optional, take crumble out at 25 minutes and drizzle 1 tbsp of honey over the top.
If you haven’t tried spot prawns before, you can pick them up at your local farmers market or certain specialty grocers. It is essential to know where you’re getting your seafood from since much of our marine life is contaminated with heavy metals and harmful chemicals. Also, many of the seafood that we eat regularly are being vastly over-fished and are dropping to seriously low numbers. Shrimp are one of these creatures. For these reasons it is important to be purchasing from reputable sources that ensure sustainable fishing practices (look for Ocean wise or Seachoice)
When creating a meal with meat or fish, I like prefer to use these more as an accent rather then the main player. Focus on your veggies and sauce and the meat or fish can be there but in moderation. Many of us have become accustomed to eating large portions of protein and having vegetables and a side note. Vegetables (especially when purchased in season) grow in abundance and take much less energy to produce and they pack a punch nutrition-wise.
To make this dish vegetarian of seafood allergy friendly consider cubed tofu.
Wild BC Spot Prawn Stir-Fry with Jalapeño Lime sauce
Prep/cooking time ~ 30min
1/2 lb wild BC spot prawns
4 carrots, sliced thin
1/2 zucchini sliced thin
your favorite noodles - I used pumpkin and ginger rice noodles
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 Jalapeño, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 small piece ginger root, roughly chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp Liquid soy
1 bunch cilantro, divided and roughly chopped
2 green onion, chopped
Pea shoots, 2 large handfuls, roughly chopped
can substitute prawns for cubed firm organic tofu.
Prep prawns - de-shell and rinse
Prep sauce - chop 1/2 jalapeño, 2 cloves garlic, small chunk of ginger and half of the bunch cilantro and place in blender. Add equal parts lime/ lemon and olive oil about 1/2 cup each and 1/2 tsp lid soy- blend till smooth.
Heat water to cook noodles as per instructions
In the meantime, set pan on medium heat add a dollop of coconut oil and prepped prawns - cook until prawns are almost done then add carrots, zucchini and optional cashews. Cook until vegetables are slightly soft. Remove from heat and place on a plate. Strain noodles, give them a quick rinse then add them to pan on med- low heat. Toss noodles with half of the sauce for about 1 min. Add the prawn mixture and the rest of the sauce and toss all together in the pan for another min.
Serve immediately- top with roughly chopped cilantro, pea shoots and green onions.
This recipe reminds me of the holidays. This breakfast is warming and nourishing and great for a cold rainy/snowy Vancouver day. I highly recommend going the extra mile and adding the pomegranate seeds. They offer juicy bursts of flavor. Delicious!
I noticed that the breakfast section on my blog was lacking- so I am going to focus more on the most important meal of the day!
Breakfast is absolutely important for so many reasons. Every night we go between 10-12 hours without eating and when we wake in the morning we need to literally break-the-fast and give our body a sustained blood sugar boost
Here are but a few of the benefits a balanced breakfast can offer:
improve mental clarity and mental performance
improve mood and sense of well-being
maintain a healthy weight by preventing mid-morning cravings and over-eating later in the day.
Enough energy to last you throughout the entire morning.
Steel cut oats are minimally processed and therefore take much longer to digest than quick oats. This means you get a slow release of sugar from your digestive system into your blood stream- which sustains you for longer. They also have a higher protein content than quick oats- adding some nuts, seeds on top your oatmeal and/or nut/soy milk improves the protein content even more.
Creamy Coconut Oatmeal with Spiced Apples & Pomegranate
Prep 20-25 min
1 cup steel cut oats (I used Bob’s Red Meal- Gluten Free Oats)
2 cups water
1 cup coconut milk
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp vanilla extract (the real stuff!)
1 tsp coconut oil
1 apple, chopped
1 tsp maple syrup
spices including: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, cardamom
2 Tbsp water
chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans on top
if you don’t have pomegranate can use dried goji berries, cranberries, raisins (whatever your heart desires or you have available to you in the kitchen).
Bring water and coconut milk to a gentle boil- add steal cut oats, cinnamon stick and 1 tsp vanilla extract and let simmer for 15-20min or until desired consistency is reached.
While your oatmeal is cooking prepare your apple topping
in a skillet on medium heat, add coconut oil and diced apples, cook for 2 min, then add spices, maple syrup, vanilla, and water and let cook another 5 min.
Once cooked- dish out your oatmeal, top with the apple mixture and pomegranate seeds and chopped nuts.
The trick to deseeding a pomegranate:
cut pomegranate into quarters
deseed each quarter by placing into a bowl of cold water.
use your hands to break apart the pomegranate- the seeds will fall to the bottom of the water and the spongy pith will float at the surface.
Once you are done you can easily discard the pith and reserve the seeds by straining the water.
This recipe is gluten-free and really easy to prepare. The brown rice tortilla crust worked perfectly and after baking became crispy and just a little chewy. I loved this meal! I used goat mozzarella but if dairy is a problem you can substitute this for a vegan cheese or ground cashews, which offer a creamy texture.
Basil is one of my favorite culinary herbs. When it’s in season I use at much as I can, so this year I decided to make a big batch of pesto to freeze so that I could enjoy it throughout the winter months as well. For freezing: I wrapped about 1 cup of pesto in parchment paper and tied it up with a string, then placed it in a tupperware- this way your not freezing it directly in plastic (which can leach) and it’s easy to take out in small batches and thaw.
Basil has some fantastic medicinal properties including aiding with digestion, being a mild sedative (causes mild relaxation), The volatile oils in the plant relax smooth muscles, which is great for digestive complaints. It is also known to have some antimicrobial properties.
Because the oils in basil are very volatile and degrade easily- it’s best to rip the leaves and add them to your dish near the end of cooking to maintain all of the health benefits and flavor they have to offer.
Gluten-Free Pesto Chicken Pizza
1 cup pesto (see recipe below)
organic skinless chicken breast
1/4 red onion sliced long
spinach, roughly chopped
brown rice tortillas (I used food for life brand- really delicious!)
goat mozzarella cheese -2 cups
add some chopped garlic if you like really garlicky pizza
prepare pesto- I make a large batch when basil is in season and freeze it wrapped in parchment paper
see below for pesto recipe
preheat oven to 350
Prepare chicken by rinsing it, cutting into bite size pieces and cooking for 10-15 minutes on medium-high heat with some lemon juice, salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil.
place your tortillas on parchment paper. Spread on the pesto (be generous), then do one layer of goat mozzarella your zucchini slices, onion, spinach, top with a little more mozzarella and sprinkle some olive oil and cracked pepper on top.
cook for 10min- watch carefully since the crust is super thin and every oven is different.
Serve immediately - it's nice with a side salad
multiply this if you want to make a larger batch
4 cups basil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
1/2 lemon juice and zest
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to food processor or blender and blend till smooth.
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