Green Juice

Yes, it's time to get a juicer......

Morning Green Juice
This recipe makes approximately 32 ounces

* 2 large cucumbers (peeled if not organic)
* big fistful of kale
* big fistful of sweet pea sprouts
* 4–5 stalks celery
* 1–2 big broccoli stems
* 1 pear or green apple (optional)
* 1 inch of ginger (or less)

Other optional greens we love: romaine, parsley, spinach and dandelion.  

Mojito Juice

Makes one 12 - 16 oz juice

1 cucumber
3 stalks celery
handful fresh mint
2 kale leaves
1 lemon, peeled

Green Goddess Juice

Makes 8 - 12 ounces

1/2 cucumber
2 stalks celery
2 kale leaves
small handful parsley
If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were…
~Kahlil Gibran
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.

~ Martin Luther King
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.
~ Mary Anne Radmacher 
A loud voice cannot compete with a clear voice, even if it’s a whisper.

~ Barry Neil Kauffman 
One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter.
~ James Earl Jones

I’ll speak in a monstrous little voice.

~ Shakespeare
There was a disturbance in my heart, a voice that spoke there and said, I want, I want, I want! It happened every afternoon, and when I tried to suppress it got even stronger.
~ Saul Bellow

Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes—goodwill among men and peace on earth.
~ Albert Einstein 
Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your inner voice.
~ Steve Jobs 
Listen to your own voice, your own soul, too many people listen to the noise of the world, instead of themselves.
~ Leon Brown

Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself.

~ Zen Master Dogen

Chickadee Says: Hearty Organic Vegetable Soup - THANK YOU, THID LOOKS YUMMY

Chickadee Says: Hearty Organic Vegetable Soup

Hearty Organic Vegetable Soup

Hello Darlings!

Normally I am in the camp that soup on its own is not a meal. I am a texture girl-- something needs to crunch. And while soup is delicious, it is a little too liquid. But if you have been following me on Instagram you’ve seen that I have been following I.AM.YOU. Studio’s Detox to Retox program, which they so graciously sent me to try. (A post with a full review of the program will be coming soon!)  Yesterday’s meal plan called for veggie soup as part of lunch, so I threw together what I had in the refrigerator and the pantry and this super filling veggie soup was born. While more like a stew than a soup, it was beyond delicious, even without my beloved crunch!

Ingredients: (All Organic)

  • A collection of vegetables- I used:
    • 1 Sweet Potato
    • 4 Yellow Potatoes
    • ½ Bunch Kale
    • 4 Large Carrots
    • 2 Yellow Onions
    • Shitake Mushrooms
    • White Button Mushrooms

  • ½ Bunch Flat Leaf Parsely + extra for garnish
  • 6 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 tsp. Paprika
  • 2 tsp. Thyme
  • 2 tsp. Tarragon Leaf
  • 1 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Prep your vegetables by washing, peeling, then chopping everything into chunks.
2. Preheat a large saucepan and add olive oil, wait until oil ‘shimmers’ then add the sweet potato, yellow potatoes, garlic cloves, and onions. Toss with olive oil and let brown about 5 minutes.
3. Add paprika, thyme, tarragon, and black pepper. Toss.

4. Add carrots, parsley (leaves only), kale, and enough water to cover the vegetables by at least an inch.

5. Bring to a boil then let simmer.

6. After about 15 minutes add mushrooms and let simmer 10 more or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.

7. Garnish with extra parsley and serve hot.


Tinkerbelle and Kiwi Are Intrigued

I love thrown together creations that turn out great. What has been your favorite cooking-on-a-whim dish? Let me know in the comments below

Winter & Being Cold is a Pain in the Neck

Yoga Poses To Help Cervical Spine & Neck Issues

For pain relief at any time, here are some yoga poses that will free up all of the areas surrounding your neck, and let you feel more open and less tense:

Shoulder Opener on Blocks

Still kneeling, place two blocks in front of you and place your elbows on the blocks.
Press your hands together in a prayer position, then release your head in between the blocks and reverse the prayer down your back. Stay here for at least 10 deep breaths.

Supported Fish Pose

While sitting, place a medium-height block behind you vertically beneath where your shoulder blades will lay and place another block behind that one vertically to use as a pillow for your head. (Use lower blocks if this height doesn't feel great on your back.)
Allow your body to gently rest on the blocks, adjusting their placement until you are comfortable, with arms resting on either side.  Stay here for at least five deep breaths.

Cow Face Arms

While kneeling, reach your right arm to the ceiling; bend your right elbow, and allow your right hand to fall between your shoulder blades.  Take your left hand to your right elbow and allow the weight of the hand to deepen the shoulder opening (no pushing!).  You can stay here for five deep breaths, leaning back slightly, or, if the clasp is easy for you, take your left arm down, bend the elbow, and reach your left hand up the center of your back, taking hold of the right hand. Stay here for five deep breaths, leaning back slightly into your arms and taking care that the right arm isn't putting any pressure on your neck.

8-Point Shoulder Opener

Start lying on the ground on your belly, reach your right arm out at a 90 degree angle from your body, palm facing up, use your left hand under your shoulder to start to press away, and maybe bend your left knee and reach your left toes behind your right knee if tipping/rolling over feels good.   If you want to reach your left arm to the ceiling, flex the palm and allow the hand to fall towards the ground with gravity, stay there for as long as you like. If you feel like you have even more space, allow your left hand to meet the right in a clasp and breathe there for as long as feels good.  Warning: this is a deep one, come out of the pose as slowly and mindfully as you come in!

Standing Forward Fold With Shoulder Opener

From standing, clasp your hands behind your sacrum, soften through your knees and forward fold.
Breathe here for five to ten deep breaths.

Seated Spinal Twist
Sit with legs long in front of you. Bend right knee and place right foot outside of left knee. (You can keep left leg long or fold it in like a half-cross-legged seat.)   Wrap left arm around right leg and place right hand on the ground behind sacrum.  Breathe here for 5 deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Shoulder Opener At Wall
Place your forearms on the wall parallel to one another below shoulder height, keeping your elbows shoulder-distance apart.   Take a few steps back from the wall and allow your head to relax down between your arms.  Breathe here for five deep breaths.

Thread The Needle

From all fours, reach your right arm underneath your body, allowing your right shoulder and temple to release to the ground. Your left hand can stay where it is, or crawl a bit to the right over your head.  Breathe here for 10 deep breaths, and then repeat on the other side.

Pumpkin Bread (grain-free, gluten-free)


1 1/4 cup almond flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
heaping 1/2 teaspoon of cloves and cinnamon
heaping 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


1 cup pumpkin1/2 teaspoon liquid Stevia or 1/2 cup honey1/3 cup coconut oil3 eggs1/3 cup water (reduce to 3 tablespoons if using honey)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease baking pan with coconut oil then line the bottom with a piece of baking sheet. (the baking sheet will keep the bottom of the bread from sticking when you flip it out).
  2. In a small bowl add all the dry ingredients and toss around until all dry ingredients are incorporated into each other.
  3. Then in a large bowl add 3 eggs and beat until frothy then add 1 cup pumpkin and mix until there are no more lumps then add coconut oil while mixing and continue to mix until thoroughly incorporated, then add Stevia or honey and mix in as well.
  4. While mixing slowly add a third of the dry ingredients into the wet followed by a third of the water and continue mixing, once slightly incorporated do the same thing and put in the next third of the dry ingredients followed by the next third of water in the bowl and continue mixing the entire time. Continue this until all the ingredients are in the large bowl and mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated.
  5. Pour mixture into loaf pan and spread around so it is spread out evenly in the loaf pan and place in the oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Tom Kha Gai {Thai Coconut Soup}

You will also want a really good quality fish sauce for any Thai dish you’re making. Red Boat Fish Sauce company is the only one on the mainstream market that is both Paleo and SCD/GAPs legal. It’s aged 12-16 months and comes directly from Vietnam. They bottle only pure first press “extra virgin” fish sauce so you get an extract that is made of just two all natural ingredients: fresh wild caught anchovy and sea salt. For years I used Thai Kitchen fish sauce and looked past the sugar in the ingredient list, but I’ve tasted the two side by side now and notice a huge difference.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon Thai dried chiles, finely ground*
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 cans full fat coconut milk
2 inch piece of Galangal, skin on and thinly sliced (fresh Ginger will work too)*
1 stalk lemon grass, sliced diagonally into 3-4 pieces and slightly bruised/flattened with a mallet or butt of a knife*
8 kaffir lime leaves*
4 tablespoons fish sauce
2 cups chicken breast, very thinly sliced
1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar (honey will work too, but coconut sugar will taste the most authentic)
8 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
fresh cilantro and scallions for serving

*All of the starred items can be purchased dried in a jar by the brand Thai Kitchen


Melt the coconut oil in a soup or stock pot, then add the ground chiles and stir for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Pour in the coconut milk and bring to boil. Add the chicken stock, galangal, lemon grass, kaffir leaves, fish sauce, and chicken and simmer for 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Add the mushrooms, lime juice, coconut sugar, tomatoes and simmer for another 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender but not mushy.

Serve with fresh cilantro and scallions.

Raw Banana Macadamia Coconut Pie

WOW!!!!! Post via - Looks Amazing!!!!

When I started to get serious about making desserts back in college, one of my favorite things to make was banana cream pie.  I thought my recipe was the best...deep dish banana bourbon cream pie, piled high with billowy, clouds of whipped cream and topped off with toasted coconut.  It was pretty amazing, and I made it many times, never thinking it could be trumped. 

That is, until this weekend.  I made the most amazing banana cream pie I have ever tasted, and it by far kicked that other banana cream pie's butt.  It needed no dairy, eggs, and refined sugar, it was veganlicious, and way more amazing! 

I had two large bunches of bananas on my counter last week, so a banana something or other was in order.  I made a cake, which will be posted soon, but I also made this Raw Banana Macadamia Coconut Dream Pie.  I call it a dream pie because it was.  When I started to make it, there were three things I was sure of.  It needed a coconut macadamia crust, plenty of sweet, creamy filling, and coconut cream on top.  

Once I got to making the filling, however, I decided that it would be even more amazing with a layer of chocolate and vanilla cream frosting.  The best of both worlds to accompany the bananas in the sweet pie! 

Once it was set, I topped it off with coconut cream, but then decided that something crunchy on top would be even better so I topped it off with a sort of macadamia and coconut streusel.  This pie ended up being a fufillment of all of my cravings.  Crunchy and a little salty from the crust and topping, creamy, sweet and dreamy in the middle, plus chocolate and fruity bananas...pure heaven!  You simply must make this if you love banana cream pie so you can try it for yourself!

Raw Banana Macadamia Coconut Dream Pie
Makes 1 6 inch tart

1 cup macadamia nuts

1 cups shredded, dried coconut
1/2 cup sprouted, dried buckwheat (or additional coconut
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
8 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped

2 cups sliced bananas
1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours in filtered water and drained)
1 1/2 cups young coconut meat or soaked cashews (drained)
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp raw agave nectar or honey
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for topping)
1/3 cup raw coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
2 sliced bananas
3 Tbsp raw cacao powder
Cream topping:
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/4 cup coconut water
1 cups fresh young coconut meat (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
3 Tbsp raw agave nectar or raw honey

1/4 tsp sea salt
1 teaspoons vanilla and seeds of half a vanilla bean

1/4 cup raw coconut oil (warmed to liquid)

1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts
1/2 cup large flake coconut
large pinch of sea salt
1 Tbsp honey

For the crust, combine the nuts, coconut, and buckwheat in a food processor and process until crumbs. Add the sea salt and dates and process until the mixture starts to come together when squeezed. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 6 inch springform pan, sprayed with non-stick coconut oil spray. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

For the filling, combine 2 cups bananas, coconut, coconut water, agave, sea salt, and vanilla in a food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the coconut oil and process for a minute. Divide the mixture into 2 bowls, then place one back in the food processor and add cacao powder.  Process until combined. Pour the chocolate filling mixture over the prepared crust, then top with sliced bananas, then the plain filling, then more bananas.  Place in the freezer to set for about an hour. 
Meanwhile, to make the topping, combine the cashews, coconut water, sea salt, honey, and vanilla anc process until smooth. Add the coconut oil slowly with the motor running (If the mixture starts to separate and clump, the filling is too cold to emulsify the oil, so warm some of it and process again). Place the topping in the freezer for about 30-45 minutes until it firms up to frosting consistency. Once frosting consistency, move to the fridge until ready to use.
Once the filling has set,spread over the tart.

In a food processor, place macadamia nuts, coconut, sea salt, and honey and pulse until chopped.  Sprinkle over tart, and serve! Store extra in the fridge.

Spirulina Macarronz

Yields: 12 pieces

1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup raisins and currants, soaked
1/4 cup macadamia nuts
3 TBS xylitol (or other preferred sweetener)
2 TBS spirulina
1 TBS cacao butter, melted
1/2 tsp of lemon juice (optional)
pinch of salt

1. Blend all ingredients in the food processor until you can mold the dough with your hands. They should stick together.

2. With a mini-ice cream scoop, scoop them to form the shape and place it on a large flat plate.

3. Refrigerate them for about 3-6 hours. It will firm up in the refrigerator giving you bite-size all-healthy macaroons!

Spirulina Macaroonz. I love it I love it!

Apple Ginger Mint Iced Tea

The recipe below is for Apple Ginger Mint, but feel free to experiment with your own favorite herbs, spices and fruits like: blackberry-basil iced tea, peachy-cardamom iced tea or apple-cinnamon iced tea. Just make sure you cut up or smash the fruit to release all of its flavors. Add fruit juice for that extra kick.

2-3 bags of green tea
2 inch piece of ginger, cut into matchsticks
1/4 apple, cut into matchsticks
1-2 sprigs mint
2 cups boiling hot water
1/2 cup apple cider
2 cups ice in pitcher
Honey, as desired
Combine tea bags, ginger, apple and mint in a tea pot. Fill with boiling hot water and steep for 5 minutes. Pour and strain into ice-filled pitcher. Add apple cider and honey as desired. Fill individual glasses with ice and serve.
Yields 4 servings

To make Apple Ginger Sake-Tea-ni: pour 1-1/2 oz chilled sake in martini glass and 1-1/2 oz of Apple Ginger Mint Iced Tea.

Scalene muscles - via Anatomy in Motion (THANK YOU!)

Scalene muscles are three paired muscles of the neck, located in the front on either side of the throat, just lateral to the sternocleidomastoid. There is an anterior scalene (scalenus anterior), a medial scalene (scalenus medius), and a posterior scalene (scalenus posterior). They derive their name from the Greek word skalenos and the later Latin scalenus meaning "uneven", similar to the scalene triangle in mathematics, which has all sides of unequal length. These muscles not only have different lengths but also considerable variety in their attachments and fiber arrangements. As you will see from the descriptions below, these muscles are in a very crowded place and are related to many important structures, namely nerves and arteries, that run through the neck.

The scalenes run deep to the sternocleidomastoid. They all start at the cervical vertebra and run to the first to second ribs. The anterior scalene runs almost vertically and its upper part is concealed by the SCM and the lower part is concealed by the clavicle. Along its medial border runs the carotid artery. The internal jugular vein, the intermediate tendon of the omohyoid, the phrenic nerve; and the transverse cervical and scapular arteries all lie between the anterior scalene and the sternocleidomastoid (in front of scalene behind the SCM) Between the muscle and the clavicle runs the subclavian vein. The rear of the muscle, its posterior border, makes contact with the brachial plexus nerve roots, which run between it and the medial scalene.

Together with the first rib these muscles form a triangle known as the scalene triangle or interscalene triangle1 through which the brachial plexus nerves and the subclavian artery pass. 

Also behind the anterior scalene are the pleura of the lungs and the superior intercostal artery.

Just behind the anterior scalene is the scalenus medius, referring to the "middle" muscle. This muscle forms part of the floor of the posterior triangle of the neck2. The front of the muscle runs close the the brachial plexus and the upper two thoracic nerve roots run through it. It makes contact with the levator scapulae in the rear, and the dorsal scapular nerve and transverse cervical artery pass between the two. The upper two roots of the long thoracic nerve go through the muscle. Only the anterior and medial scalene can be palpated. The posterior scalene is much shorter than the other two, and only starts at the lower cervical vertebra, where it attaches via two three tendinous slips. Whereas the first two attach to the first rib, the medius attaches to the second rib. 1,2,3,4,5,6.7

Some texts refer to a fourth scalene muscle, the scalenus minor. This variant does not always occur on both sides of the neck, but may be present in up one-third of people. This normal variation may have implications in thoracic outlet syndromes as does the scalenus anterior, resulting in a syndrome known as Scalenus Anterior sydrome or Scalenus Anticus syndrome (another name for the anterior muscle). The brachial plexus and the subclavian artery, as mentioned above, pass between the anterior scalene and the middle scalene. When present, the minimus inserts between the scalenus anterior and medius, passing behind the subclavian artery while the scalene anterior passes over and in front of it.7,8

At the top of the lungs is a the suprapleural membrane, which is a dense fascial layer also called Sibson's fascia. This fascia is attached to the inner border of the first rib and the costal cartilage. The pleura of the lungs attach to this fascia underneath. The fascia attaches to the transverse process of the C7 vertebra and when muscle fibers are found in it, it is called the pleuralis muscle, which is another name for the scalenus minimus. So this suprapleural membrane could be regarded as a flattened out tendon of the scalenus minimus, meaning that the scalenus minimus is attached to the pleura of the lungs, or the pleural dome and then beyond to the first rib, lying behind the anterior scalene and the groove of the subclavian artery. The scalenus muscle is a reinforcement of Sibson's fascia, which serves to stiffen the thoracic inlet and the neck structures above it so that they are not "puffed" up and down during forced respiration.8

The scalenes are clearly individual muscles but the all work together as a functional unit. They are usually considered accessory muscles of inspirations, as they work to elevate and fix the first and second ribs, while serving to fix them during quiet breathing, becoming guy-wires from the neck. It was thought that they were only active during labored or forceful breathing. However, measurement of their activity with concentric needles electrodes have demonstrated their activity even during quiet, normal breathing, even when the intake of breath is quite small. This has caused some researchers to drop the "accessory" label and consider them primary muscles of inspiration.

During normal diaphragmatic breathing, the ribs are elevated by the intercostal muscles and the scalenes. The orientation of the ribs causes them, when elevated, to expand the chest to the sides and front which increases the thoracic volume available for the lungs to expand into, although a most of this expansion is into the abdominal space which is made available by the contraction of the diaphragm downward. Their exact role in breathing is difficult to resolve.

The actions of the scalene muscles as movers of the neck and head are variously reported. They stabilize the cervical spine against lateral movement. The most common moving action attributed to them unilaterally is contralateral rotation of the cervical spine (rotation of head to the opposite side of working muscle). They have also been reported to be ipsilateral rotators (rotation to same side as working muscle). Bilaterally they are reported to be flexors of the neck. Their action in this regard depends on whether the thorax is fixed or the neck is fixed.1,2,3,4,5,6.7

Whether they are always active during breathing or not, the scalenes may become overactive in quiet breathing in upper chest breathing patterns. Prolonged coughing can overuse these muscles as well, and they may be especially problematic to asthma sufferers. Pain can come from myofascial trigger points in the scalenes or from thoracic outlet entrapment syndromes associated with the muscles.7

Origins, Insertions, and Actions

Origins: The Anterior Scalene (front scalene) originates on the anterior tubercles of the transverse processes of the third or fourth to the sixth cervical vertebrae.

The Scalenus Medius (middle scalene) originates on the posterior tubercles of the transverse processes of the first or second to seventh cervical vertebrae.

The Scalenus Posterior (rear scalene) attaches by two or three tendons from the posterior tubercles of the transverse processes of the the fifth or sixth to the seventh cervical vertebra (the last two or three).

Insertions: The scalenus anterior inserts onto the scalene tubercle and cranial crest of the firt rib, in front of the subclavian groove. The middle scalene inserts onto the cranial surface of the first rib, between the scalene tubercle and the subclavian groove. The posterior scalene inserts onto the outer surface of the second rib.

Actions: As above, the scalenes function as fixers and elevators of the first and second ribs during inspiration. The anterior and medial scalenes elevate the first rib and the posterior scalene elevates the second rib.

It is generally accepted that, acting unilaterally, they flex the head to the same side and acting bilaterally the flex the head forward (cervical flexion). Their roles as rotators of the neck given differently by different texts. Some report that all three scalenes rotate the head to the same side and some report that they all rotate it to the opposite side. Some report different functions for each scalene. According to Buford, et al., a multiple single-subject study on anesthetized macaques and human cadaver follow up revealed all three muscles as contralateral rotators of the cervical spine (rotating the head to the opposite side).4 The scalenes also help to laterally stabilize the neck, which is especially suited to the scalenus posterior.7

Sources of Scalene Trouble and Trigger Points

As stated above, breathing habits can be a cause of the scalenes being overworked. Here is a list of possible causes of scalene trouble which can lead to trigger points in the muscles or the neurovascular entrapment syndrome:

• labored breathing and/or habitual upper chest breathing (paradoxical), or chronic coughing, possibly associated with:

  • nervous hyperventilation
  • asthma
  • emphysema
  • pneumonia
  • bronchitis
  • allergies
  • playing wind instruments
• work habits and activities such as:

  • working for long periods with arms in front and possible slouched forward (as at a desk)
  • working long periods with arms overhead
  • work the requires repeatedly raising and lowering the arms
  • carrying heavy loads at the sides
  • pulling or lifting (especially with arms as waist)
  • rowing
  • swimming
  • pulling ropes as in sailing
  • wearing a heavy backpack

• poor posture with head-forward, kyphotic slouching and other problems such as:

  • one short leg when standing
  • small hemipelvis when sitting
  • idopathic scoliosis
  • sleeping with the head and neck low
  • trauma from a hard fall or auto accident, whiplash (also affects sternocleidomastoid)7
Full article, with references & more great tips here:

Difference & Tolerance

Thinking about difference and tolerance...

"If there's any message to my work, it is ultimately that it's OK to be different, that it's good to be different, that we should question ourselves before we pass judgment on someone who looks different, behaves different, talks different, is a different color."

~Johnny Depp

Zinfandel Spaghetti

4 to 6 servings


1½ pounds rapini (broccoli rabe)
1 pound spaghetti
1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine, preferably Zinfandel
1 tablespoon sugar
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic (about 4 cloves)
¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese


1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rapini and cook for 3 minutes or until just tender. Transfer the rapini to a baking sheet and let cool. In the same boiling water, cook the spaghetti, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. (The pasta will finish cooking in the Zinfandel.) Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta and set it aside. Return the empty pasta pot to the stove.

2. Add the wine and sugar to the pasta pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until reduced by half, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the pasta and shake to prevent the pasta from sticking. Gently stir with tongs until coated and boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente, about 4 to 5 minutes.

3. While the pasta cooks in the wine, heat a large, deep skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the garlic until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the rapini, red-pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add ½ cup of the reserved pasta water, or more if desired, and stir to combine.

4. Add the rapini mixture to the pasta pot, toss gently and transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve.

Raw Beet Slaw with Fennel, Tart Apple and Parsley



3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
½ teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt or fine sea salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


½ fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
½ tart apple, such as Granny Smith--cored, sliced into ¼- to ⅛-inch-thick pieces, then stacked and sliced into ¼- to ⅛-inch-thick matchsticks
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 medium red beet--peeled, ends trimmed, sliced into ¼- to ⅛-inch-thick pieces then stacked and sliced into ¼- to ⅛-inch-thick matchsticks


1. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, orange zest, honey, salt and pepper and set aside.

2. Make the slaw: In a medium bowl, toss together the fennel, apple and parsley leaves. Add two-thirds of the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the beet with the remaining dressing. Add the beet to the fennel-apple mixture and toss once or twice to combine (don’t overmix; otherwise the beets will stain the fennel and apple). Serve immediately (or refrigerate up to 8 hours before serving; let the slaw sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving).

Spiced Parsnip Salad

The creamier cousin of the carrot stands up to a boatload of spice in this winter salad. A coating of roasted cumin and fennel seeds, a garlic-and-salt paste, lemon juice and red pepper flakes give the thinly sliced roots enough flavor to balance a meaty main or simple scrambled eggs. Add mustard greens or arugula to make the dish an even heartier side. Either way, we think you’ll be smitten with this salad too.

Spiced Parsnip Salad
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings


1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 pound parsnips, peeled
1 garlic clove
1¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
¼ cup fresh lemon juice, plus extra for seasoning
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped


1. In a small skillet set over medium heat, add the cumin seeds and fennel seeds and cook, stirring often, until the seeds are golden, fragrant and toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn out onto a medium plate to cool; then, using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, pulverize into a fine powder.

2. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice each parsnip lengthwise into long, thin strips. Stack a few of the strips and cut lengthwise into long, thin slivers. Repeat with the remaining parsnip slices.

3. On a cutting board, roughly chop the garlic with ¼ teaspoon salt. Periodically smash the garlic-salt mixture, then continue chopping until the mixture becomes a paste.

4. To an airtight container, add the parsnip, ground cumin and fennel, garlic paste, lemon juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cover the container and vigorously shake to combine. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

5. Add more lemon juice to taste, and the chopped parsley leaves, to the parsnips and toss to combine. 

Roasted Tomato Soup


Anderson favors the classic tomato soup accompaniment: a grilled cheese sandwich. He likes to use French baguette for the bread, and prefers an assertive cheese such asDrunken Goat, a Spanish goat’s-milk cheese that has been cured with red wine.


To give his tomato soup maximum flavor, Anderson roasts the tomatoes and mirepoix, then combines them with tomato paste to deepen the flavor. He finishes the soup with crème fraîche to give it an especially silky texture.

  • Medium carrots, 4 (roughly chopped)
  • Medium yellow onions, 2 (roughly chopped)
  • Medium leek, 1 (roughly chopped)
  • Tomatoes on the vine, 4 pounds (quartered, vine reserved)
  • Thyme sprigs, 8
  • Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon (plus more to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon (plus more to taste)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons
  • Water, 8 cups plus 3 tablespoons, divided
  • Tomato paste, one 6-ounce can
  • Crème fraîche, ¼ cup (plus extra for serving)

1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Into the bowl of a food processor, add the:
  • Chopped carrots
  • Chopped onions
  • Chopped leek
Process until roughly ground, about five 1-second pulses. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a 4-quart pot. Use the rubber spatula to scrape the mixture into the sieve and press down on it to extract as much liquid as possible. Add the tomato vine to the pot and set aside.

2. Turn the ground vegetables out onto a rimmed baking sheet, spread into an even layer. On another rimmed sheet pan, place the:
  • Tomato quarters
  • Thyme sprigs
Arrange the tomatoes cut-side up and sprinkle with:
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
Add both baking sheets to the oven. Roast the tomatoes until they begin to collapse, about 25 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set aside.

3. Rotate the pan with the ground vegetables and continue roasting until the tops are browned, about another 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and scrape the roasted vegetables into the pot with the vegetable liquid and tomato vine (set the pan aside). Add:

  • 8 cups water

Start bringing the water to a boil over high heat.

4. Set the sheet pan used to roast the vegetables over a medium burner and add the:
Tomato paste

Cook until the tomato paste darkens, about 45 seconds, then add the remaining:

  • 3 tablespoons water

Use the wooden spoon to stir and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add this mixture to the pot with the vegetables, tomato vine and water. Once the water has come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the stock tastes full-flavored, about 40 minutes. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl and strain the stock. Clean the pot and pour the strained stock back into it.

5. Meanwhile, heat the broiler to high and cook the tomatoes under the broiler until they are nearly black on top, about 5 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprigs.

6. Scrape the roasted tomatoes into the pot with the strained stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the tomatoes collapse completely, about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and cool 10 minutes before blending in batches or use an immersion blender to purée the soup. Once the soup is smooth, add:

  • ¼ cup crème fraîche

Blend again and add more salt and pepper if needed. Divide into 2 bowls and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.

MAKE THE SAMBHAR - looks delicious

Serves 6


2 cups toor dal (split yellow lentils; available at Indian markets)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, divided
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds(available at Indian markets)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds(available at Indian markets)
1 dried red chile
4 fresh curry leaves (optional; available at Indian markets)
1 teaspoon ground red chile powder or cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon homemade (click here to see recipe) or store-boughtsambhar masala (available at Indian markets)
2 yellow onions, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon tamarind paste(available at Indian markets)
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
2 cups vegetable broth
6 baby carrots, trimmed and peeled, or 4 small carrots--trimmed, peeled and halved lengthwise on a bias
½ English cucumber, peeled and scooped with a melon baller
½ cup cherry tomatoes (preferably Sun Gold)
6 small radishes, trimmed and halved (preferably breakfast radishes)
½ cup fresh or frozen peas
Chopped fresh cilantro for serving


1. In a large bowl, cover the lentils with 2 inches of tepid water. Stir in 1 teaspoon turmeric and the fenugreek seeds. Set aside for 1 hour.

2. Drain the lentils and transfer to a small saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the lentils are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and purée the lentils in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth.

3. In a large soup pot set over medium-high heat, heat the oil and mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds start to pop, about 2 to 3 minutes, add the dried chile and curry leaves. Fry for 10 seconds, then stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon turmeric, the chile powder, sambhar masala and the onions. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onions are soft, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until the paste darkens, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tamarind paste, salt, vegetable broth and puréed lentils. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.

4. Add the carrots and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes, then add the cucumber balls, cherry tomatoes, radishes and peas. Cook until the raw vegetables are warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the cilantro and serve.

A classic Keralan Indian dish - Green Bean and Carrot Thoran

The vegetables are cut into small pieces to expedite the cooking, which happens blissfully fast.

Green Bean and Carrot Thoran
Recipe adapted from Asha Gomez, Cardamom Hill, Atlanta, GA
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 10 minutes


2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
8 to 10 fresh curry leaves (optional)
1 pound green beans, thinly sliced on the bias
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
½ teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup frozen grated coconut, available at Indian markets (or substitute finely grated dried unsweetened coconut soaked at room temperature in ¼ cup water until the water is absorbed)
3 garlic cloves
1 serrano chile


1. In a large skillet set over medium heat, warm the coconut oil. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, after about 2 minutes, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans, carrots, turmeric powder and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the beans and carrots are tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. With a mortar and pestle or in a blender, crush the coconut, garlic and serrano chile until well combined. Add the coconut mixture to the beans and carrots and stir to mix well. Cook for 1 minute and remove from the heat. Serve immediately.

Peppered Collard Greens - Shock It!

Bright green, smoky and laced with white pepper, these aren't your customary collard greens. Robert Carter, the executive chef and owner of Carter’s Kitchen in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, detours from low-and-slow cooking by first quickly cooking the collards, then shocking the greens in ice water to keep their verdant color intact. A short pork-stock bath and the addition of white pepper and hot sauce give the side dish depth of flavor and a pleasant kick. It’s an ideal complement for a slew of summer mains.

Peppered Collard Greens
Recipe adapted from Robert Carter, Carter's Kitchen, Mount Pleasant, SC
Yield: Serves 4 as a side dish
Cook Time: 5 minutes


4 strips thick-cut smoked bacon
2 cups chicken broth
Ice and cold water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1½ large bunches collard greens (about 3 pounds)--stems removed and leaves stacked, rolled into a long cylinder and thinly sliced crosswise into ⅛-inch-wide strips
1 small shallot, finely chopped
Rounded ¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons pepper vinegar (from a jar of pickled peppers) or hot sauce (preferably Cholula)


1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until the fat renders and the bacon is browned, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Remove the bacon and discard; set the stock aside.

2. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and set aside. Fill a large pot with water, add the salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the collard greens and blanch for 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the greens and transfer to the ice-water bath. Once they’re cool, drain the greens, place in a kitchen towel and wring out as much liquid as possible.

3. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add the reserved stock. Add the shallot and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the collards and cook until they are just heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the white pepper and pepper vinegar and toss to coat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl and serve.

A double dose of celery - Celery Salad with Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette

Celery Salad with Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette
Recipe adapted from Richard Reddington, Redd Wood, Yountville, CA
Yield: 4 servings


2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of ½ medium lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 celery stalks, trimmed and thinly sliced into crescents (preferably using a mandoline)
1 cup small yellow celery leaves
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves


1. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the grapeseed and olive oil.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. While whisking vigorously, slowly drizzle in the oil until all of the oil is added and the vinaigrette is thick, creamy and emulsified.

3. Add the celery to the vinaigrette and lightly toss to coat. Add the celery leaves and parsley leaves, toss to combine and serve.

Vietnamese Ginger-Lime Shrimp Salad

The shrimp are poached with the shells on to retain as much of their moisture and flavor as possible; the result is a salad that's bright and fresh and packed with flavor.

Ginger-Lime Shrimp Salad
Recipe adapted from Chris Newsome, Ollie Irene, Mountain Brook, AL
Yield: Serves 6


One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, scraped
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 pound (21-25 count) shell-on shrimp (preferably Gulf shrimp)
1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks
1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks
½ medium daikon radish, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks
¼ medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
9 basil leaves, stacked, rolled and thinly sliced crosswise (preferably Thai basil)
4 scallions (both light green and white parts), trimmed and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ small Thai chile or jalepeño, finely chopped
¼ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped


1. In a blender, combine the ginger, vinegar and fish sauce and mix on high speed until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Pour the ginger-vinegar mixture into a small bowl and refrigerate until cool.

2. Bring a saucepan filled with water to a boil and add the shrimp. Poach until cooked through, about 1 to 1½ minutes. Drain in a colander or fine-mesh sieve; once the shrimp are cool enough to handle, remove the shells and devein the shrimp.

3. In a large serving bowl, toss the carrot, cucumber, daikon, red onion, basil, scallions, cilantro and mint. Stir the lime juice and chile into the chilled ginger-vinegar dressing and then pour the dressing over the vegetables. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.

Yellowfin-Tuna Escabeche with Spicy Pineapple Vinaigrette

The words "fusion" and "New World cuisine" are tossed around a lot in Miami. For that, we give a shout-out to chef Norman Van Aken. Van Aken is one of the founders of New American cuisine, specifically of the pan-Latin-African-Caribbean-Asian-by-way-of-Florida variety as featured at his new restaurant, Tuyo (which means "yours" in Spanish). Perched high above Miami Dade College’s new Miami Culinary Institute and featuring sweeping floor-to-ceiling views, Tuyo offers Floridians a taste of Van Aken’s signature sea-to-skillet plates. One of his most versatile recipes is for a pineapple, ginger and jalapeño vinaigrette that he uses as a sticky glaze for grilled chicken, dressing for a fruit salad and, in this case, a marinade and finish for a quickly seared yellowfin-tuna steak. King Neptune is at your service.

Yellowfin-Tuna Escabeche with Spicy Pineapple Vinaigrette
Recipe adapted from Norman Van Aken, Tuyo, Miami, FL
Yield: Serves 4
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes (plus chilling time)


1 ripe pineapple--trimmed, cored and chopped (8 cups of pineapple chunks)
1 cup fresh orange juice
3-inch piece fresh ginger--scraped, minced and divided
2 jalapeños--halved, seeded, minced and divided
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons light Japanese soy sauce or tamari
Juice of ½ lime
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
Four 4-ounce yellowfin-tuna fillets
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil


1. Make the vinaigrette: In a blender, purée the pineapple chunks and orange juice until completely smooth. Into a medium saucepan, pour the pineapple-orange mixture and place over medium-high heat. Add one-third of the ginger, half of the jalapeños and the vanilla bean and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until reduced to 2 cups, about 1 hour. Turn off the heat and set aside to steep for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl.

2. To the strained pineapple liquid, whisk in the cider vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, the remaining ginger and the remaining jalapeño. While whisking slowly, drizzle in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill.

3. Make the fish: In a small skillet set over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds and peppercorns, shaking the pan often, until the cumin is fragrant and wisps of smoke rise from the pan, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn the spices out onto a plate to cool, then transfer to a spice grinder (or coffee mill) and pulverize until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the sugar and salt. Place the tuna steaks on a plate and sprinkle all sides with the spice rub.

4. Heat a grill pan or heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. In a small dish, add the grapeseed oil and dip a silicone or pastry brush (or folded paper towels and tongs) into the oil and use to grease the pan. Place the tuna steaks in the pan and sear, without moving, until browned, about 5 minutes. Use a metal spatula to turn the tuna steaks over and sear on the opposite side until they are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the tuna to a cutting board, slice crosswise and divide among four plates. Drizzle with the pineapple vinaigrette and serve.

Recepie by Norman Van Aken via:

Chilled Summer Squash and Sesame "Noodles"

In this twist on sesame noodles, strands of zucchini and yellow summer squash are quickly cooked in boiling water so that they lose their rawness without sacrificing crunch--or overheating the kitchen. A spicy sesame sauce slicks the strands, and though it’s best tossed with the squash just before eating, you could certainly make the two components ahead of time and let them chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 10 minutes


2 medium yellow summer squash, ends trimmed
2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
¼ cup tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled (use the edge of a teaspoon to scrape off the skin) and grated
¼ teaspoon chile oil or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


1. Place one of the summer squash on a cutting board. Cut a thin lengthwise slice off one side, then turn the squash so the cut-side faces down (this helps balance the squash so it doesn’t roll). Slice the squash lengthwise into ¼- to ⅛-inch-thick planks. Lay the planks flat on the cutting board and slice lengthwise into ¼- to ⅛-inch-thick strips. Place in a medium bowl and repeat with the remaining summer squash and zucchini.

2. Fill a bowl with ice and water and set aside. Fill a saucepan with water, add 1 tablespoon of the salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the squash strips and cook until limp, 1 to 1½ minutes. Use tongs to transfer the squash to the ice-water bath (save 2 tablespoons of cooking water and discard the rest). Once the squash is cool, drain in a colander and shake off any excess liquid, then turn the strips onto a kitchen-towel-lined plate and chill in the refrigerator.

3. In a small skillet set over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, shaking the pan often, until the sesame seeds are golden and fragrant, about 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a small plate and set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, the reserved cooking liquid from the squash, lemon juice, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, chile oil or cayenne pepper and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.

5. Remove the squash from the refrigerator and place in a medium bowl. Pour the sesame sauce over the squash and use tongs to gently toss to coat. Serve sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

Steak and eggs, starring butternut squash

Enjoy this "steak" for brunch or dinner.

These days, just about any hearty vegetable can be reimagined as a "steak." So when our Test Kitchen experimented with a more healthful version of steak and eggs, they turned to meaty butternut squash, high in the antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin C and manganese. Thickly sliced and simply roasted with maple syrup and smoked paprika, the caramelized slabs of squash are topped with a poached egg, baby arugula, a sprinkling of chopped red chile and a squeeze of lemon juice. Now that’s what we call a steak, well-done.

Butternut Squash Steak and Eggs
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 35 minutes


1 large butternut squash--peeled, halved lengthwise and seeded
1/3 cup maple syrup
1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more to finish
½ teaspoon distilled white vinegar
4 large eggs
3 cups baby arugula
½ small red chile, finely chopped (preferably a Fresno chile)
1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Flaky sea salt for serving


1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and another rack to the middle position. Set a baking sheet on the lowest rack and preheat the oven to 400°. Set the squash on a cutting board and cut in half crosswise to separate the neck from the round bottom. Chop the bottom half into ¼-inch cubes and place in a medium bowl. Stand a long piece on its end and carefully slice lengthwise into 2 equal “steaks,” each about ¾ inch thick. Repeat with the other long piece of squash.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon of the salt and ⅛ teaspoon of the pepper. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the maple-syrup mixture over the chopped squash cubes and transfer the mixture to a baking sheet (not the baking sheet in the oven).

3. Use a pastry brush to coat one side of the squash steaks with the remaining maple syrup mixture. Transfer the steaks, maple side down, to the preheated sheet pan and sprinkle the top side with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Place the baking sheet with the steaks on the bottom rack of the oven and place the baking sheet with the diced squash on the middle rack. Roast until the squash steaks and cubes are tender and the steaks begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Remove both baking sheets from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

4. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the vinegar and enough water to reach 3 inches up the sides of the pan. Bring to a boil. Working one at a time, crack each egg into a small bowl and carefully tip the egg into the boiling water. Repeat with another egg. Use a slotted spoon to baste the eggs, cooking until the whites are set, about 2 minutes. Use the slotted spoon to carefully transfer the eggs, one at a time, to a paper-towel-lined plate, and repeat with the remaining eggs.

5. In a medium bowl, combine the arugula and red chile. Season with the lemon juice, add the diced squash and toss to combine. To serve, divide the squash steaks among 4 plates. Top with the arugula-squash mixture. Carefully place a poached egg over the arugula, sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper and serve immediately.

Calories per Serving: 280; Sodium: 295mg; Total Carbohydrate: 42g; Fiber: 4g; Fat: 10g

Sciatica vs. Piriformis Syndrome


Sciatica vs. Piriformis Syndrome
by Dr. George Best

Sciatica and piriformis syndrome can seem quite similar, parularly in terms of symptoms, and this similarity in how they feel has caused considerable confusion for doctors and patients alike. Some individuals have stated that they are actually the same thing, but despite similarities in symptoms, the underlying causes of the two conditions are different.

Sciatica refers to irritation of the sciatic (often mis-spelled as syatic or psyatic) nerve, that arises from nerve roots in the lumbar spine. The most common cause of sciatic nerve irritation, or "true" sciatica is compression of one or more of its component nerve roots due to disc herniation or spinal degeneration in the lower lumbar region. Sciatica usually begins in the buttock area and, depending on the severity of the underlying nerve comression and inflammation, may extend down the entire leg to the ankle and foot.

Piriformis syndrome is sometimes called false sciatica, because instead of actual nerve irritation, it is caused by referral pain.) caused by tight knots of contraction in the piriformis muscle, which attaches to the upper femur bone and then runs across the back of the pelvis to the outside edge of the sacrum, the triangular pelvic bone at the base of the spine. The symptoms of piriformis syndrome are very similar and may be indistinguishable from true sciatica.

In some cases, piriformis syndrome may cause true sciatic nerve irritation, as the sciatic nerve may run underneath or even through the middle of the piriformis, so contraction of the piriformis may produce sufficient compression of the sciatic nerve to produce actual nerve symptoms. This is one of the main sources of confusion when it comes to distinguishing true sciatica from piriformis syndrome.

As mentioned earlier, the symptoms of true sciatica are very similar to piriformis syndrome. Both cause pain, tingling, burning, "electrical shock" sensations, and/or numbness down the leg, often all the way to the foot. In addition, both sciatica and piriformis syndrome tend to be at least partially related to biomechanical functional problems in the joints of the back and pelvis and they may even be present simultaneously in the same person, so it an be difficult to tell them apart.

But since the most effective treatment for the two conditions varies signficantly, it is important to determine the correct diagnosis if at all possible. In most cases there is an easy way to distinguish between sciatica and piriformis syndrome.

In most cases, sciatica can be differentiated from piriformis syndrome with a couple of simple test maneuvers. To begin, from a seated position, one straightens the knee on the side of sciatic pain, holding the leg out straight and parallel to the floor, and if this position causes an increas in symptoms, it is a good indicator of true sciatica.

The second maneuver is done in two parts. First, from the sitting position one bends the leg and pulls the knee on the painful side towards the same-side shoulder. In all but the most severe cases, there is usually no major increase in pain in this position. The second part of the maneuver is to pull the knee toward the opposite side shoulder. An increase in the sciatica-like symptoms is a strong indication of piriformis syndrome.

It is important to distinguish between sciatica and piriformis syndrome, because the treatment for the conditions varies, and getting the diagnosis right typically leads to more effective treatment.