Spiced Tumeric Milk



Tumeric has been in the news a lot lately and I’ve been looking for new ways to incorporate it into my diet. As with most healthy “fads” you have to take the hype with a grain of salt. Annecdotally, tumeric is a cure-all. I’m not sure we have had well-designed studies to support the annecdotal claims, but it seems that very few herbs have good studies that examine their benefits.

The benefit that interests me most it that it seems to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. At least we think it does–cultures that consume tumeric as part of their daily diet have much lower levels of Alzheimer’s disease

We use tumeric in our Chinese herbal pharmacopeia for it’s blood- and qi-moving properties. As we age our qi and blood tend to become more stagnant, so keeping things moving can keep us well as we age.

In my kitchen I usually make one Indian curry every week so I think we usually eat tumeric 2-3 times per week. I’ve also been experimenting with making my own Thai curry paste, which uses fresh tumeric root (and is magically delicious!).

‘m always looking for more ways to incorporate more tumeric into my diet and I came across this recipe for Spiced Golden Tumeric Milk. I like that you can use any type of “milk” for her recipe–not all of us want to drink cow milk, but I think this will be delicious with coconut milk.

For even more ideas on using tumeric check out this article at Well + Good.



Celebrating 10 years in Davis Square

This July marked my 10th year in Davis Square. I started Great Way Wellness Center quite early in my practice. I graduated from New England School of Acupuncture in 2003 and immediately began practicing in a chiropractor’s office in Cambridge. After about a year and a half there I decided it was time to set out on my own.

I lived in Central Square at the time and did not own a car. It was clear that I needed T-accessible space, preferably on the red line. I spent 6 months looking at spaces all up and down the red line, and even a few places on the orange and green lines.

Then I found a space in Davis Square and signed a lease to start on July 1 2005. It had dirty light grey carpet and sad light-grey walls, but it had windows that opened, new carpet on the way and the option to paint those walls any color. More importantly, it was small enough that I could manage it. When I started Great Way Wellness Center I opened with just the two rooms that I use now and the waiting room. About a year and a half later the opportunity came to expand and add 2 more treatment rooms so I took the plunge and expanded. Expanding allowed me to bring in other acupuncturists and massage therapists, a goal of mine in starting my own wellness center.

Davis Square today is a bustling village of restaurants, shops and cafes. 10 years ago it was still a little sleepy, but you could see the rising potential of the area. I love the mix of families, students, urban professionals and long-time Somervillens (or “Villens” for short).

Being an acupuncturist is challenging but rewarding work. When I decided to study acupuncture way back in 1998 I had no idea what the day-to-day of being an acupuncturist would look like. I fully understood that I would be self-employed (whatever that really meant), but nothing could prepare me for the work. I love the mix of patients who walk in my door–I’ve learned so much from them over the years!

Looking forward to my next 10 years and the new challenges that come my way!

Lifehacker on old wives tales about our health

Check out this fun post from Lifehacker about scientific basis and 8 common old wives tales.

I like the item on whether being cold can make you catch a cold. Chinese medicine worries greatly about people getting cold because it makes them vulnerable to all kinds of health problems (not just respiratory colds). Illness can is often a right-place-right-time sort of thing. Imagine being stressed, under slept and eating poorly, something that all of us occasionally experience. In this scenario, I would not be surprised to hear that a patient has also caught the latest cold going around, particularly if they tend to under dress for the weather. Think about yourself at final exams, the holidays or perhaps on a work deadline.

According to this post, science confirms that being cold can make you more vulnerable to catching a cold, but it doesn’t always result in a cold. Not everyone is going to get sick when they get cold and rundown, but the odds are higher that they will.


Well + Good Boston Healthy City Guide feature


I’m so pleased to be featured as a healer in the Well + Good Boston Health City Guide!

The guide lists a lot of great places including two of my favorite places to get healthy–South Boston Yoga in Southie and Life Alive in Central Square.

If you haven’t visited their website, Well + Good is a a health-focused website based primarily in NYC and LA. Hopefully they’ll add Boston to that group!

Chocolate chip banana nut muffins

We’ve had a lot of snow over the past week here in Boston so like many others I’ve been doing a lot of cooking (and eating! too much eating!).

One of the best things I’ve made during the past week is these muffins (or cupcakes). I modified a cake recipe from The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam to create these muffin/cupcakes.

I say they’re muffin/cupcakes because they feel more like a treat than muffins, but I choose not to make any frosting, so that makes their status as “cupcakes” questionable. For me, the chocolate chips make frosting unnecessary.

Like most things I bake these straddle the line between “treat” and “sustenance.” They’re made of high-protein almond flour, so they’re filling in a way your standard muffin isn’t.

I have been experimenting with using coconut oil in place of other oils and have discovered something interesting. Unrefined coconut oil is not supposed to be heated above 280 degrees (or something like that), so it shouldn’t be good for baking muffins cooked at 350 degrees. Except that it is! I’ve made this recipe with both unrefined and refined coconut oil (expeller pressed only please) and I find the unrefined coconut oil makes a richer more luscious muffin. The refined coconut oil is really good too, but it has a slightly less luscious result.

I recommend using the best quality dark chocolate chips you can find. Using good chocolate here really elevates this simple treat into something special. I try to get chips that are at least 70% dark chocolate when I can. You can also chop up a couple of nice chocolate bars to mix in with whatever chips you use–even a small amount of high-quality chocolate makes a difference here.

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Muffins

3 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cp coconut oil, melted (or any other light oil or melted butter)
1/4 cp maple syrup (or any liquid sweetener)
3 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cp mashed ripe bananas (2-3)
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or chopped up chocolate bars)
1/2 cp chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin pan with paper baking cups.

In large bowl combine almond flour, salt and baking soda.

In a separate bowl combine the oil, liquid sweetener, eggs and vanilla. Stir into the almond flour mixture. Add mashed bananas, chocolate chips and pecans and stir to thoroughly combine.

Scoop into prepared muffin pan, bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out dry.

Chocolate Truffle Marzipan Cream cake

Cake has always been my favorite treat. There’s something about the layers of cake and icing that just makes me happy. Cupcakes will do in a pinch but they’re just no substitute for a layer cake.

Chocolate truffle marzipan cream cake

I know I usually write about making healthy foods on this blog, but certain times of year call for celebrations and a gentle relaxation of food rules. In my house this usually means that I’m using “real” sugar instead of maple syrup or palm/coconut sugar.

I almost always bake with almond flour, no matter what sweetener I choose. Since almonds are high in protein they are a good balance to “real” sugar.

I have been making versions of this cake for years with hazelnut flour but this cake is made with almond flour instead. I also increased the number of eggs from past iterations and ended up with a cake that is both light and moist. This cake is gluten free but it is not one of those “good for a gluten free” type of cakes–it’s just plain good, and you’ll never miss the gluten.

My husband loves chocolate covered marzipan, and with his first taste of this cake he exclaimed “this tastes just like those chocolate covered marzipan bars!”

There are 3 components to this cake–the cake layers, the chocolate truffle filling and the whipped cream icing. I recommend making the layers at least 1 day before you’d like to serve the cake–it will make it easier to ice and spreads the workload out so it doesn’t feel like too much to do it all together.

The cake uses whipped egg whites to create lightness. The technique is to stir in about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the batter to “loosen” it and make it more fluid. Then you carefully fold in the remaining egg whites, taking care not to break up the bubbles too much. This procedure is delicate but don’t be afraid–it’s not hard, it just requires some care and attention.

Chocolate truffle marzipan cream cake

For the cake:

12 oz Almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
7 egg whites
7 egg yolks
1 whole egg
170g sugar (approx. 5/8 cup)
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 2-9″ round cake pans (o.k. to use almond flour here)

Combine almond flour and baking powder and set aside.

With clean whisks beat the 7 egg whites until stiff peaks form.

In a large bowl beat 7 egg yolks, 1 whole egg, sugar, almond and vanilla extracts. Beat until well combined. Add almond flour mixture and stir to combine well. This batter will be quite thick.

With a rubber/silicone spatula stir in 1/3 of the egg whites into the almond flour mixture to “loosen” this stiff batter. Once incorporated, very gently fold in the remaining egg whites until just mixed. Do not overmix!

Divide cake batter into the two prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Refrigerate or freeze overnight before assembling the cake.

For the chocolate truffle filling:

8 oz dark chocolate (chips or chopped up chocolate bars)
1/2 cp heavy cream
seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Gently warm cream in the top of a double boiler. Stir in chocolate chips and continue stirring until all are melted. Stir in vanilla extract.

You should have a smooth, shiny mixture.

Let the truffle mixture cool a bit, then spread on top of the bottom layer of your cake. Let it continue to cool a bit on top of the cake, then add the second cake layer on top.

Return the cake to the fridge to let truffles set up.

While this is happening make the whipped cream frosting

Vanilla bean whipped cream

*Before preparing whipped cream put the bowl and the beaters or whisk into the freezer to chill–this will make it easier to whip the cream and create a more structurally sound product to ice your cake in.

1/2 pint whipping cream
3-4 tbsp powdered sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in pre-chilled bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.

Spread on tops and sides of cake.

Future garden wish list

After a solid year of house hunting we finally found just what we were looking for in Somerville. We moved in January of this year, right in the middle of that terrible cold we experienced this year in New England, when none of us could imagine a time when we it would be warm enough to garden.Poppies

Our new house is blessed with a tiny city yard, both in the back and the front. A well-established rose bush, a forsythia, and 2 smaller rose bushes make up the only planting in evidence anywhere in the yards.

Rather than plunge into any big gardening decisions I’ve decided to spend the year studying the light and soil conditions and to compile a gardening wish list. As I bike or walk around my new neighborhood I am trying to observe what my neighbors have found success with and see if it might work for my unique conditions.

The picture at the top of this post is of poppies, which are popping up all over town right now.

peony bud

Ive also been wondering about peonies, pictured to the left as buds. The blossoms are beautiful, and it seems like a hearty plant for our region.


I am also hoping to plant some irises.

I am looking forward to a summer of checking out all of the neighborhood gardens!

Nantucket bay scallops with almonds and lemon

I have been exploring the seafood of New England, which is so different from that of my native Louisiana, and have recently discovered Nantucket Bay scallops.


I’m certainly not an expert on these scallops, but what I do know is that they are small, sweet, rare and more expensive than regular scallops. They have a small window of availability, and I lucked out in getting some today at the last Central Square farmer’s market of the year.

I found this great recipe for Nantucket Bay scallops with almonds and orange at Yankee Magazine, but I lacked orange juice and chicken stock. What to do?

I modified the recipe to use about 1/2 cup of sherry, a few tablespoons of lemon juice and honey (plus a little water) to create a different version of the recipe from Yankee Magazine. It came out delicious, and was as easy as any scallop recipe I’ve made.

Nantucket Bay scallops with almonds and sherry

1 lb. of scallops
1/2 cp. almond meal
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small chopped onion or large shallot
1/2 cp parsley
1/2 cp sliced almonds
1/2 cp sherry or white wine
1/3 cp water
3 tbsp lemon juice
1.5-2 tsp honey

1. Wash, dry and salt scallops. Dredge in almond meal.

2. Heat large frying pan and add butter and olive oil. Add scallops to hot oil and spread out in a single layer. Cook for roughly 2-2.5 minutes, trying to turn them once if possible to create a nice seared crust.

3. Remove scallops to a bowl or plate and set aside. If necessary, add a bit more olive oil to the frying pan along with onions,d

4. Add sherry/white wine, water, lemon juice and honey. This will allow you to deglaze the pan. Make sure to scrape up anything that is stuck to the pan–that’s where the flavor is! Cook until liquid is reduced by at least 1/2.

5. Turn off the fire and return scallops to the pan. Toss to coat with the sauce.

Bon Appetit!

Photo from: “Argopecten irradian” from Bermuda at the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano


Local farmers’ markets are in full swing here in Boston and I couldn’t be happier. Every year the farmers bring new and interesting produce to the market giving adventurous eaters plenty of great things to try.



Purslane has turned up in my local markets (Central Square and Davis Square), and I love it. In America we’ve treated purslane (also known as Portulaca) as a weed. Other cultures have recognized it as a remarkably healthy vegetable that just happens to grow like a weed!

Purslane is loaded with all of the nutrients you expect to find in a leafy green vegetable: vitamin A is present in large quantities, as well as vitamin C and multiple B vitamins. It contains a decent amount of minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium.

The truly exciting nutrient in purslane is Omega 3 fatty acids. Purslane has a large serving of ALA, which is usually found only in fish, flax, hemp seeds and chia seeds.

So, how do you prepare it? What does it taste like?

Like most foods that contain omega 3s, heat is the enemy. Purslane is delicious raw, either as a stand-alone salad or mixed in with other salad greens. It has a nutty/lemony flavor with a great crunch when you have it raw.

It’s also nice quickly stir-fried. It’s great stirred in to scrambled eggs. Saute an onion first, then briefly saute the purslane before adding your scrambled eggs to the pan. Serve with salsa and maybe corn tortillas.

Germophobic about the subway? Relax, it’s not as bad as you thought.

The New York Times recently posted this article about a study done in NYC’s subway system. The goal was to discover if subway air was any more germ-filled than in any other place. The answer seems to be no!

So, while you still need to watch out for anyone coughlng or sneezing on public transportation, and you still should _not_ touch your face (eyes, nose, mouth) while you’re out anywhere, you don’t have to worry that the subway is any grosser than any other public space.