Healthy Cooking: Hot Soup for Cold Days, Val Wilson

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Nothing will warm you up on a cold winter day better than a nice hot bowl of soup. Soup is such a versatile dish. It can be served as an appetizer before a meal, be the main course, or even just a snack.

When you make a soup with red lentils, you have the added bonus of a thick creamy texture because red lentils break down when they are cooked. Red lentils are an excellent source of protein, high in fiber, iron, calcium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, manganese, and B vitamins.

Whenever you cook beans or lentils, add a small piece of kombu. This incredible nutrient-dense sea vegetable helps strengthen your intestinal tract and aids in digesting the lentils, helping to eliminate the gas some experience when eating beans and lentils.

Burdock root is an excellent strengthening root vegetable native to Michigan.

You may have come across it while hiking in the woods. It is the plant with the huge leaves and round burs that get stuck on your pant legs. You can dig up the plant and eat the root, but most prefer to just buy it from the store.

Burdock is great for your skin, can cleanse the blood, is good for your digestion, and can help eliminate toxins from the body. It’s best known for helping people with diabetes as it contains inulin, the nutraceutical that helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

Burdock root has a unique bitter, earthy taste. It is always best paired with a sweet vegetable such as the sweet potato in the soup recipe below. The seasonings paprika, curry, and cumin give a little spice to the soup without making it too spicy. They spices are warming spices, helping to keep you warm during the cold winter months.

Red Lentil Burdock Root Soup

10 cups water
1 (2 inch) piece of kombu
2 cups red lentils
1 onion (diced)
4 cups sweet potato (peeled and cut in cubes)
2 cups burdock root (cut in thin rounds)
3 celery stalks (diced)
1/4 cup minced kale
1 T. olive oil
3 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. curry
1/2 tsp. cumin

Directions

Put the water and kombu in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Remove the kombu once it’s soft. Cut in small pieces and put back into pot. Add the red lentils and let water come back up to a boil. Add the vegetables, one at a time, letting the water come back up to a boil in-between adding each vegetable. Once all vegetables are in the soup pot, reduce to low, and simmer for twenty minutes. Turn off heat and add the seasonings. Stir everything together and serve hot.

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. She offers weekly, virtual cooking classes that all can attend. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or her radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted from the Winter ’22 – ’23 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Co-op Corner: Recipe For Success Program Receives Funding to Continue Food Education Across U.P., Marquette Food Co-op

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MFC Outreach Director Sarah Monte (right) and Education Coordinator Amanda Latvala (left) at a Feeding America distribution site this summer.

Feeding America West Michigan (FAWM) sends monthly trucks to locations all around the Upper Peninsula to distribute food to people in need. FAWM recently performed a detailed assessment of their mobile pantry distribution program and learned that attendees wanted to learn more about how to prepare healthy meals with the ingredients they were receiving. FAWM, the Marquette Food Co-op (MFC), and the Northern Michigan University Center for Regional Health (NMUCRH) teamed up to create a food education program that would specifically serve attendees of the mobile pantry distribution.

Funding from the Superior Health Foundation has enabled the team to create this multi-faceted project with a virtual and in-person food education component that links food educators across the Upper Peninsula. Seven mobile pantry locations whose attendees indicated strong interest in food education were selected for live food demos or sampling. These locations include Marquette, Ishpeming, Newberry, Sault Ste. Marie, Manistique, Norway, and Ontonagon.

Comprehensive kitchen equipment kits were put together so that our partners had the tools necessary to prepare and serve the food.

At mobile pantry distributions throughout the summer and fall, our partners prepared food in certified kitchens and brought it to the pantry distribution so attendees could taste the prepared recipes. Depending on the location, our team of food educators would demonstrate recipe preparation, or move from car to car serving the featured recipe and chatting about how they prepared it.

This is a particularly fun and challenging partnership, as what food will arrive on the truck often isn’t known until twenty-four hours before the event. FAWM notifies the food educators of the products, and the team gets to work finding the right recipe that features food participants will be taking home that day. Recipients get a copy of the recipe so they can recreate the meal at home.

The MFC and Food for Life Nutrition services developed a suite of recipes tailored to the items most often delivered via the mobile pantry, so the demo team has resources ready to go. These recipes are housed on the NMUCRH website. NMUCRH also worked with the MFC to put together video demonstrations to accompany the recipes. These demonstrations and recipes are available to anyone and can be found at nmu.edu/ruralhealth/recipes.

The MFC provided staff for the demos at the Marquette and Ishpeming locations.

We used our experience with food demonstrations offsite to create equipment kits for each team of food educators at each location. NMUCRH, as an organization that serves the entire Upper Peninsula, travels frequently and was instrumental in dropping off the kits to our partners.

Preliminary evaluations indicate that the recipes are a big hit. For example, out of the 128 evaluations at the Marquette location, 115 people indicated they would make the recipe at home, with another 11 saying maybe they would make the dish at home. 119 people stated they would share the food and/or recipe with other people. It’s not just the participants enjoying the event. As one food educator said, “I loved getting to interact with so many people, cracking jokes and chatting with them. This filled my cup.”

We are thrilled to announce renewed funding for the Recipe for Success Program and are looking forward to another year of bringing food education to sites across the Upper Peninsula. Be sure to visit the NMUCRH site above to learn more about our partners and to try out some of the recipes in your own home!

*Article sponsored by the Marquette Food Co-op

Excerpted from the Winter ’22 – ’23 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Healthy Cooking: Antioxidant-Rich Wild Rice, Val Wilson

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Wild rice is known for its rich, black color and mild, earthy flavor, but did you know that it is a fantastically healthy food that can help slow the signs of aging?

Its high antioxidant levels, thirty times higher than other rices, can help do this and offer many other health benefits. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, the dangerous by-product of cellular metabolism that may cause healthy cells to mutate or turn cancerous. Our bodies may form free radicals from eating refined processed food, smoking, drinking, environmental pollutants, eating sugar, and taking pharmaceutical drugs.

When you eat wild rice, the high antioxidant content may help neutralize the free radicals that accumulate under the skin, which can cause wrinkles and other blemishes. It is important to note that white rice has no antioxidant capabilities. 
     
Wild rice offers other wonderful health benefits too. It has high fiber content, which can help improve digestion, is good for the heart, and may help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Wild rice’s high phosphorus, vitamin K, and zinc levels are good for strong bones, bone mineral density, and healthy joints. Wild rice also contains vitamins A, C, E, B6, niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Wild rice is best cooked with other brown rices to create a nice chewy texture, sweet, earthy flavor, and colorful combination. 

Wild Rice Mushroom Pilaf

1/4 cup wild rice 
1/4 cup short grain brown rice 
1/4 cup long grain brown rice 
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 onion (diced) 
2 garlic cloves (minced) 
2 cups chopped assorted mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, cremini, or your favorite) 
1 carrot (diced) 
2 celery sticks (diced) 
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped) 
2 T. minced parsley 
2 T. raisins (optional) 
toasted sesame oil 
tamari 
1/2 tsp. thyme 
1/4 tsp. rosemary 
1/4 tsp. sage 
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Directions

Put the rices and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to the lowest possible temperature, cover, and simmer for one hour until all the water has been absorbed. Sauté the onion in a little toasted sesame oil and tamari until soft and translucent. Put the sautéed onions in a large mixing bowl. Using the same pan, sauté the carrots in a little toasted sesame oil and tamari for a couple of minutes until they are browned and add to the bowl. Sauté the mushroom and celery the same way, then add to the bowl.

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. She offers weekly, virtual cooking classes that all can attend. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted from the Fall 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Healthy Cooking: The Art of Blueberry Pie, Val Wilson

There is nothing as sweet as wild blueberries picked fresh in the UP! The challenging part is not eating all of them as you pick so you still have enough to make a pie. The beautiful flakey crust and rich blue color can make that pie look like a work of art!


There are many health benefits in these little sweet berries. Blueberries are full of antioxidants, which are important for getting rid of free radicals in our bodies that can cause disease. What gives those beautiful blueberries their blue color is the antioxidant anthocyanins which studies have shown can help prevent neuronal diseases, cardiovascular illness, cancers, diabetes, and other inflammatory diseases. 


Containing vitamin K, iron, calcium, and zinc, blueberries are good for your bones. They also contain vitamins C, A, E, magnesium, folate, manganese, and beta carotene, and are high in fiber and protein. Plus research has shown consuming blueberries can help increase the rate of muscle strength recovery and muscle repair if you suffer from exercise induced muscle damage (EMID). And the wild berries are reported to have more of the healthy antioxidants and, in my opinion, more sweetness. 


In the following recipe I use whole grain flour. I prefer spelt or kamut flour. If you want to create a gluten-free crust, I would suggest using oat flour. Any flour will work to create the crust for this recipe. 


Blueberry Pie*

Crust 
3 cups whole grain flour 
1/2 cup olive oil 
1/2 cup water 
Pinch of sea salt 

 
Filling 
5 cups blueberries 
1/2 cup brown rice syrup 
2 T. lemon juice 
5 T. arrowroot 
1 tsp. cinnamon 

To make the crust, mix together all the ingredients until you get a firm dough that will hold together. Divide into two equal parts, form into round discs, and cover in plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, then roll out the crust between two pieces of plastic wrap and put in an oiled pie pan.

For the filling, put all of the ingredients in a sauce pan, then cover and heat on low. Once the filling starts to heat up, the blueberries will release their natural juices. Once this occurs, mix everything together. As it heats, the arrowroot will thicken the filling.

Pour filling into bottom crust. Roll out the top crust in the same way as the bottom crust. Place the top crust over the pie and pinch the edges to create a decorative edge. Bake at 350 degrees or one hour. Let cool before cutting.


*Recipe from Chef Val’s new cookbook Simply Healthy Scrumptious Desserts

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. She offers weekly, virtual cooking classes that all can attend. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted from the Summer 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Healthy Cooking: Sweet Greens & Carrots, Val Wilson

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Spring is the time our bodies go through a natural cleansing. We have just spent months indoors, typically eating more heavy foods seasoned with more fat to help keep us warm. When spring comes, it’s time to lighten up your cooking and include cleansing green foods.

Green foods contain chlorophyll, which has many healing properties such as detoxing the liver. The liver, gallbladder, and nervous system are organs to focus on feeding and nurturing during the spring. Chemically similar to hemoglobin, a protein that is essential in red blood cells as it carries oxygen around a person’s body, chlorophyll also can help with wound healing, cancer prevention, and is good for your skin.

Kale and collards greens are in this category of green foods. Both are high in vitamin C, protein, and iron. Celery helps to cleanse the blood, which brings one’s energy up to help with the busier time of spring. 

Carrots are a great vegetable to add color and sweetness to any dish. In the recipe below, the sweetness of the carrots and raisins help balance out the bitterness of the greens. Also known for helping to purify the blood, carrots are high in vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorus. Seasoning this dish with lemon juice and brown rice vinegar brings in the signature flavor of spring—sour. 

Sweet Greens & Carrots

2 cup carrots (pencil-cut) 
2 cups celery, including leaves (diced) 
Olive oil
Sea salt 
1/2 cup raisins 
2 cups collard greens (diced) 
4 cups kale (diced) 
4 cups summer Napa cabbage (diced) 
1/4 cup water 
1 T. tamari 
1 T. brown rice vinegar 
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds 

In a large pot, sauté the carrots in a little olive oil and a pinch of sea salt for a couple of minutes. 

Move the carrots to the side of pot. Add the celery and another pinch of sea salt to the middle of the pot and sauté for a couple more minutes.

Layer the raisins, collard greens, kale, and cabbage on top of sautéed vegetables. 

Add the 1/4 cup water, tamari, and brown rice vinegar. Cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes, until vegetable are soft. 

Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and sunflower seeds.

Mix everything together and serve warm.

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted from the Spring 2022 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2022, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Healthy Cooking: Millet Sweet Potato Savory Biscuits, Val Wilson

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During the cold winter months, warm baked goods are always satisfying. And since you may not always be in the mood for baked goods that are sweet, here is a savory, more dense, hearty biscuit recipe. These biscuits are great to serve with your dinner, plus make a great between-meals snack when you get a little hungry.

Millet is one of the oldest whole grains, and has been eaten since at least 2800 B.C. Very high in protein, iron, calcium, and B vitamins, millet is gluten-free and the easiest whole grain to digest. Known for helping to strengthen your spleen, pancreas, and stomach, it is great for anyone with digestive issues. Millet has a creamy texture, making it perfect to create baked goods such as these biscuits. 

Sweet potatoes are native to South America and were domesticated at least five-thousand years ago. The crop must have been an important one for our ancient ancestors because ancient pottery has been found to feature sweet potato images. Sweet potatoes have vitamin D for healthy bones, vitamin C, B 2, B 5, and manganese. They’re also exceptionally high in iron, calcium, and potassium, making sweet potato an excellent food for your heart. Plus, they help boost your immune system, contain antioxidants, and help strengthen your kidneys. In this recipe, the sweet potato creates a mildly sweet flavor that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. 

Millet Sweet Potato Savory Biscuits 

1/2 cup millet 
1 cup water 
3/4 cup rice beverage (non dairy beverage) 
2 cups sweet potato (peeled and cut in cubes) 
1/4 cup olive oil 
1/4 cup rice beverage (non dairy beverage) 
1 tsp. sage 
1/2 tsp. rosemary 
1/4 tsp. sea salt 
2 cups oat flour 
1/2 cup medium corn meal 
2 tsp baking powder

Put the millet and one cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil for a minute. Reduce heat to lowest possible temperature, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until all water has been absorbed and millet is soft. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Add the 3/4 cup rice beverage to the cooked millet and let it sit covered while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Steam the cubes of sweet potato until soft. Put the olive oil, 1/4 cup rice beverage, sage, rosemary, sea salt, and steamed sweet potato in a food processor and puree until smooth. Put the oat flour, corn meal, and baking powder in a mixing bowl, add the pureed mixture, and mix all together until you get a firm, thick, muffin dough texture. Using an oiled muffin pan, spoon the dough onto the pan into 12 muffin-size biscuits. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Eat them warm out of the oven or at room temperature after they have cooled down. 

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted from the Winter 2021-22 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Healthy Cooking: Immune System Boosters, Val Wilson

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To help boost your immune system, eat foods high in antioxidants. Your immune system depends on the intake of micro nutrients from food which can act as antioxidants. Antioxidants can destroy free radicals, protecting the structural integrity of your cells and tissues. Eating a whole-foods, organic, nutrient-rich diet is your best defense to stay healthy and boost your immune system.

The best antioxidant food you can eat is brown rice. It’s a complex carbohydrate, giving you energy, high fiber, and lots of free radical-destroying antioxidants, such as vitamin E, B vitamins, gamma-oryzanol, alpha lipic acid, glutathione oeroxidase, superoxide dismutuse, coenzyme Q10, proanthocyanidins, lecithin, and IP6 (inositol hexaphosphate). The important thing to remember is that all of them help your body create a strong immune system. Black rice is a type of brown rice that is even higher in antioxidants because of it dark color. The pigment that creates the dark color is called anthocyanin which helps protect cells against damage-reducing inflammation, and can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease also.

Both broccoli and sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C, which also helps boost your immune system. The whole grain corn contains vitamin A, which helps regulate the immune system and protects against infections by keeping the tissues and skin healthy.

The strongest anti-inflammatory food you can consume is turmeric. It contains co X-2 inhibitors ,which are natural pain relievers and a natural remedy for arthritis. Turmeric enhances the digestive system, contains strong antioxidants, and also has antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties. In the salad recipe below, the garlic gives the dressing a wonderful pungent flavor that complements the bitter, spicy flavor of the turmeric. And garlic has been used in herbal medicine for thousands of years because of it strong antifungal and antibiotic properties.

Black Rice Turmeric Salad 

3/4 cup short grain brown rice
1/4 cup black rice
2 cups water
2 scallions (thin slices)
1 cup corn
1 cup peas
2 cups broccoli (cut up)
2 cups sweet potato (peeled and cut in cubes)

Dressing:
2 garlic cloves (minced)
2 T. olive oil
2 T. tamari
2 T. brown rice vinegar
2 T. brown rice syrup
1 T. fresh grated turmeric root (or 1 tsp. dried turmeric)
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Put the brown rice, black rice, and water in a pot. Bring to a boil for a couple of minutes. Reduce heat to low, and simmer with lid on for one hour, until all water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Put the rice in a large mixing bowl. Add the corn and peas. The hot rice will lightly steam them. Set aside to cool. Steam the sweet potato until fork tender, approximately 10 minutes. Steam the broccoli until fork tender, approximately 7 minutes.  Put all dressing ingredients in a food processor and puree until well combined. Mix the steamed broccoli and sweet potato, scallions, and dressing all together in the mixing bowl. Serve warm, room temperature, or refrigerate and serve cold.

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. You can attend virtually including a special class through Peter White Public Library on 6/15/21. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted from the Fall 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Healthy Cooking: Grilling for Summer, Val Wilson

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Summer is my favorite time of year. One of the reasons is because you can grill food outside. For some reason, food just seems to taste better to me when cooked outside. Be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking you have limited options of just grilling veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs if you are living a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. I have experimented grilling many vegetables and other fun recipes such as the tofu kabobs described below.

Tofu is a great option when you are grilling. When you marinate tofu, it takes on the flavor of the marinade and creates a very tasty dish. Tofu is a complete protein. It contains all eight essential amino acids. It’s also is a good source of calcium and iron, plus it contains phosphorus, zinc, copper, magnesium, and vitamin B1.

Yellow summer squashes are one of my favorites on the grill. They have high water content, helping to keep you hydrated, and have lots of potassium and fiber. Carrots and radishes are high in antioxidants and contain potassium, which is essential for healthy blood pressure. And onions contain anti-inflammatory properties.

When creating this recipe, I chose the vegetables to give a rainbow of colors to the kabobs. These kabobs taste great when grilled. However, if you do not have a grill, you can cook them in a skillet or even bake them in the oven.


 
Tofu Kabobs

Wooden kabob sticks  
1 lb. fresh firm tofu  
1 onion (cut in chunks)  
4 carrots (cut in long, round diagonals)  
1 yellow summer squash (cut in cubes)  
20 radishes (cut in thick rounds)  

Marinade
1/3 cup tamari  
¼ cup each olive oil and water  
2 T. each brown rice vinegar and mirin  
1 T. brown rice syrup  
1 tsp. each basil and thyme  

Arrange the tofu and all the vegetables in a shallow dish, lying flat rather than stacked on top of each other. Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour over the vegetables. Let marinate 30 minutes. Take the wooden kabob sticks and place the tofu chunks and vegetables on each one. Alternate the vegetables to make each one unique. Heat a skillet or grill and brown the kabobs on each side, or place the kabobs on a cookie sheet and bake at 350  degrees for 20 minutes. If grilling the kabobs on a barbecue, soak the wooden sticks in water for 20 minutes before making and grilling the kabobs. 

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. You can attend virtually including a special class through Peter White Public Library on 6/15/21. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Healthy Cooking: Greens for Spring, Val Wilson

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Once the long winter months are over, we start to see the first signs of spring appear in nature. Everything starts coming up green! Not surprisingly, the signature color of spring is green and we can reflect that in our cooking to feed our bodies healthy vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Most greens have a few things in common: Chlorophyll, which helps heal skin and helps cleanse toxins out of the body; glucosinolate, which is a sulfur-rich compound proven to reduce cancer risk by preventing or delaying cancer cells at various stages of development; Vitamins, A, C, B6, and E; Vitamin K, which is very important for bone health; and the minerals iron, calcium, magnesium, and manganese.  

Each green has it own taste, and you can combine a variety of greens to create a delicious dish. Collard and kale taste similar to cabbage. Carrot greens have a sweetness similar to the root part of the carrot. Daikon greens are more bitter to the taste. For the following recipe, you can use your favorite greens. Dandelion has a nice bitter taste. Bok choy is a light cabbage with a sweet taste. Nappa cabbage is wonderfully sweet. Arugula and watercress are both bitter and pungent.

Mixed Greens Stir Fry 

1/2 onion (thin half moons) 
1 carrot (cut in matchsticks) 
3 large collard greens (cut up) 
1 cup chopped carrot greens 
1 cup chopped daikon greens 
1 T. olive oil 
1 T.  tamari 
1 T. lemon juice  
2 T. toasted sunflower seed for garnish

Sauté the onions in a little olive oil and a dash of tamari until translucent. Add the carrots and greens. Add the olive oil, tamari, and lemon juice. Cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the greens have wilted, and the carrot is soft. Serve with toasted sunflower seeds sprinkled over the top. 

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. You can attend virtually. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or radio show, and follow her on. Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted with permission from the Spring 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Chef Val’s Virtual Cooking Class – Creamy Pasta Casserole with Mushroom Sauce

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Chef Val

Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine’s Healthy Cooking columnist will be teaching through the Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI on Tues. March 30th, 7 to 8 PM – through Zoom 

Casseroles are great winter time comfort dishes. Chef Val will teach how to make a whole foods casserole featuring brown rice pasta. The recipe features a white sauce with two different types of mushrooms-maitake and white button. All the health benefits of the ingredients will be discussed as Chef Val teaches how to make the casserole. The recipe is vegan, whole foods, plant based, organic, anti-inflammatory and delicious!