Archive for May, 2009

Zesty Lemon Kuzu is a refreshing treat after a meal. It brings the body into balance after indulging in fried, baked, roasted, or heavy foods.

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Zesty Lemon Kuzu

In traditional Chinese cooking, food is medicine. Each meal my mom cooked was balanced in its yin and yang properties. She called a food either cool (yin) or hot (yang). If we over-indulged in a particular food, she would cook a food with an opposite effect to balance our systems to keep us well.

The yin and yang of food can refer to the balance of flavors, colors, texture, the properties of the food itself, or how the food has been cooked. Mom prepared cooling soups, which required boiling to balance a meal that had something fried, baked, or roasted.

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chunks of kuzu

My mom often used kuzu, a powder extracted from the kuzu root, the focal point of the kuzu plant’s energy. She used kuzu as another remedy to balance our yang bodies and as a thickener instead of corn starch to make sauces and gravies. When any family member had an upset stomach, she made a sweetened, warm beverage of kuzu for the ailing family member to drink.

I was reintroduced to kuzu while I was following a macrobiotic diet, a diet that focuses on eating local, seasonal, whole foods-grains, legumes, sea/ fresh vegetables, fermented soy products, and some fish. Although I no longer follow a macrobiotic diet, I still use kuzu for sauces and for making desserts. One of my favorite things to do when I cooked macrobiotically was to see how many desserts I could come up with using kuzu.

Zesty Lemon Kuzu is one of my creations. It’s simple, nutritious, and quick.

lemon slices 077Cut three thin slices of lemon for garnishing. Slice each of the three pieces in half. I cut extra slices just in case my twists for garnishing didn’t look right!

Juice three to four organic lemons for 1/2 cup of lemon juice.

dot removed-mix everythingMix 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, and sweetener-1/4 cup agave or 1/4 cup honey in a non-reactive bowl such as glass or stainless steel. Taste the mixture. Add more sweetener to taste.

In a second  bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of kuzu in 4 tablespoons of cool to cold filtered water until dissolved. Add kuzu mixture to sweetened lemon juice mixture. Stir well.

lemon kuzu, flowers 088Pour mixture into a saucepan. Cook the mixture on a medium flame. Keep stirring the mixture. Stir, stir, stir, stir…

lemon kuzu, flowers 089The opaque mixture will turn translucent. Let it cool until slightly warm. Pour into serving bowls. Chill in the refrigerator until set.

last lemon

zesty lemon kuzu

Before serving, garnish with lemon slices, berries, and lemon zest.

Zesty Lemon Kuzu

Serves 3, 1/2  cup each (to increase the number or size of  portions, add more of each ingredient)

three slices of lemon for garnishing

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)

1/2 cup of cool to cold filtered water

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1/4 cup of agave nectar or honey

2 tablespoons kuzu

4 tablespoons cold water

Mix first four ingredients together-1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup filtered water, 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest (reserve 1 teaspoon of lemon zest for garnishing), and 1/4 cup of sweetener in a non-reactive bowl, such as glass or stainless steel. Taste for desired sweetness.

In another bowl mix last two ingredients-2 tablespoons of kuzu with 4 tablespoons of cold water.  Make sure the water is cool to cold. It will not dissolve properly in hot water. Mix until dissolved. I use the chunks of kuzu directly from the package without grinding it into powder. You may want to grind the kuzu and then measure.

Add the kuzu mixture to the lemon mixture. Stir.

Transfer lemon kuzu mixture to a saucepan.

Cook over medium flame. Keep stirring.

Mixture will start bubbling. Keep stirring.

Mixture will turn from opaque to translucent.

Remove sauce pan from heat and let cool.

Pour into serving bowls and refrigerate until set.

Garnish with lemon slices, berries, and lemon zest.


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Modifications and suggestions: protein types can top with whipped cream!  If a thicker consistency is desired, dissolve 1 tablespoon of kuzu in 1 tablespoon of cold, filtered water in a bowl and slowly pour into the saucepan of cooking lemon kuzu. Continue stirring and cooking until translucent.

The sweetness was just right for my husband and me, but our daughter would have preferred it sweeter!

If you plan to use kuzu as medicine, please first consult with your doctor.

Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom


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I usually don’t watch much TV these days, but my husband was watching Oprah, and I overheard the announcement that she was having the world’s most talented kids perform on her show.

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I appreciate the wonderful talents of others. Watching people in their element brings me much joy. Their talents touch my spirit, and I feel at one with them. It’s as if God is talking to me, telling me how awesome He is as a Creator. He’s letting me in on a special part of His Creation, the talents He’s bestowed on each of us to glorify Him.

Each of the kids featured were extremely talented. One of the musicians was Lang Lang, a concert pianist from China. I was fortunate enough to have attended one of his concerts last year. He is a tremendous talent and is giving back to society by nurturing and mentoring children who are gifted at playing the piano.

Then Oprah presented Charice Pempengco form the Philippines. She sang Note To God written by Diane Warren and produced by David Foster. What a song! What a voice! The voice and song were perfectly matched. The song sounded as if it were written exclusively for Charice to sing even though it was recorded earlier by another artist.

I stood up from my comfortable couch as I watched and maneuvered myself closer to the TV. I couldn’t believe she was seventeen. Her voice was soulful, smooth, passionate as well as angelic. I started to sway with the singing. My skin started to tingle as her voice hit the high notes. I was reminded of the gospel music of The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

Her performance was emotionally charged to say the least. I wanted to clap. I wanted to shout, Hallelujah. I wanted to raise my hands in worship. I was moved to tears. The Oprah audience was waving their hands in the air just like in an old-time revival meeting, unashamedly on national TV. The audience was having church and I was worshiping along with them!

Charice’s performance of Note to God was so moving, I just had to share it with you.

Unfortunately, I will no longer be able to post Oprah’s Youtube segment of Charice’s performance of Note to God due to Harpo’s copyright claim.

Please go directly to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4Xd435coD4 to see and experience Charice’s performance.

Isn’t she amazing!

God hears our prayers. Our loving God seeks a relationship with us, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:14,15

If you were to write a note to God, what would you say to Him?






Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom


































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Happy Mother’s Day!

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This is my first Mother’s Day without my mom. Her first anniversary in heaven will be the end of this month. My sisters, brothers, her grandchildren, great grandchildren, her brother, and I miss her dearly. I am grateful that she gave me life.

If I were to think of a woman who embodied the woman described in Proverbs 31:10-31, that woman would have been my mom.

She lived in a village in a rural part China and never had the opportunity to attend school, but she was gifted with the wisdom and knowledge that exceded any degree.

As an intuitive person, she had an air of innocence and trust but  knew instantly the maladies of a person’s heart, for she suffered from the cruelties of war,  the betrayal of village members, the humiliation of birthing girls, the loneliness of being a single parent when my father left for America, and the heartbreak of separation from her three young daughters.

She was the mom of seven children, five daughters and two sons. She loved each child as if he or she were the only child. Contrary to the societal and cultural dictates of the time, she loved each of her daughters. She nurtured them with care and love.

Alongside her mother-in-law and her first three daughters, she farmed their land and shared their meager harvest with the rest of the villagers. In times of famine, she dug up roots to feed  her family. She became a coolie to carry cargo from docked ships to the city shops to earn extra money to help pay for her husband’s college tuition.

The ship personnel looked at her in disbelief. Her translucent, flawless complexion was not the face of a common laborer.

In the United States, she and my father transformed the back half of a store into their new home. There were no apartments for rent to Chinese and dogs. The single room became a home for us until we reached puberty. She cooked five course dinners on two burners each evening. She hosted family parties of twenty or more people at a time. I remember the parties spilling out of the store and onto the sidewalk-the chatter, the squealing of happy children running and playing, the arguing of the adults, the clinging of glasses, the sizzle of hot oil, the clanging of the spatula against the wok, and the endless laughter. And oh, yes, the aromas of exotic dishes flavoring the air. In her modest Chinese way, she rejected the complements about her cooking, but she smiled in her heart. She had maintained her title of being the best cook in her village while in her new home in America.

She was the life of the party! She stayed current with world affairs through our translation of the news into Chinese. She never learned English. She only spoke enough to carry on business in the outer half of the store, a Chinese laundry, a New York City phenomenon.

When we were grown, she made Thanksgiving dinners and invited our friends who could not return to their homes or did not have a family to celebrate the holiday with.

She designed her own dresses and sewed them by hand. When she was pregnant, she made her own maternity clothes. Not familiar with shopping for maternity outfits, my father bought two dresses, and my mom would remake them into one big dress!

She had a quiet spirit, and had learned to be at peace. She learned to be content in whatever situation she was in like the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:12-13, I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me the strength.

When she was presented with the Good News, she acknowledged her need for Jesus. We prayed frequently together. In her last days when her body became frail and would not cooperate with her, she no longer remembered how to pray. I held her hand and led our prayers. My mom’s forgetting how to pray spoke to me of the importance and urgency of the words from 2 Corinthians 6:2… I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. We just don’t know what events lie ahead for us. When you are aware of the Holy Spirit prompting you of your need for Jesus, please respond as my mom did.

We, her children remember her, and we call her blessed.

We miss mom, but we have a hope. We will see mom in heaven some day.

I encourage each of you on this Mother’s Day to savor each moment with your mom.

How did you spend this Mother’s Day with your mom?

I’d love to know how you celebrated Mother’s Day with her.

Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom

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This festive looking dish looks too good to eat. Its vibrant colors will please your eyes and tantalize your palate. It’s great as a snack or as a quick meal any time but particularly during the warm weather. It’s full of fiber, protein, omega-3’s and other healthy fats. The best part is that it requires no cooking!


Layered Taco Spread

This Layered Taco Spread recipe has been passed on from friend to friend. My sister, my best friend received it from her friend, Leon. She has passed on to me. Now I get to share it with you and The Nourishing Gourmet, where you’ll find more simple and nourishing meals! After you taste the first bite, you’ll want to pass this recipe on to your friends too. It’s just too delicious to keep to yourself!

Layered Taco Spread

Modified to serve 6-8


collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-24721 can of organic refried beans

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2461/2 cup grass-fed sour cream

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-25011/3 cup of organic, omega 3 mayonnaise (adjust amount to taste) or use homemade

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2531 packet of Bearitos Taco Seasoning

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-24814 oz. can of diced green chilies (drained)

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2441 2 organic, medium, ripe avocados

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2411 1 tablespoon of organic lime juice

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-25511 teaspoon of salt (I used Himalayan Original Crystal Salt)

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2541 teaspoon organic garlic, chopped

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2621 cup shredded organic, cheddar cheese (grass-fed would be best, but it only came in white)

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2561 cup organic scallions, chopped

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2591 cup organic tomatoes (drained), chopped

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2574 oz. jar of pitted organic black olives, sliced (I used Kalamata Style)


1/4 cup organic cilantro, chopped (optional)

Here’s how I layered my taco spread:

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-273first layer-refried beans

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2651mash avocados, mix in lime juice and garlic

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2742second layer-avocado mixture

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-275third layer-tomatoes (reserve some for garnish)

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-278 fourth layer-scallions

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-268 mix sour cream, mayonnaise, and taco seasoning

This was the hardest part to stop tasting! I know, my hips know too. The mayonnaise is definitely the secret ingredient. I’m glad it has omega 3’s in it from flax oil.

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-280 fifth layer-sour cream, mayonnaise, and taco seasoning

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2811sixth layer-sliced olives

The Kalmata Black Olives gave the spread an added surprise, just enough of a kick!

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2821seventh layer-chopped green chilies

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2851eighth layer-cheddar cheese, garnish with cilantro (optional)

The original recipe doesn’t have cilantro as an ingredient, but I wanted the visual contrast of the orange cheese and the green cilantro. I also like its freshness-it breaks up the rich creaminess. I use the stems and the leaves. The stems add crunchiness to the spread.

collegeschinese-school-flowers-marathon-taco-dip-2871Arrange extra tomatoes along edge

Serve with corn chips, or a variety of  veggies-celery, cucumber slices, lettuce leaves, sliced peppers, pita wedges; or make a wrap.

Modifications: Protein Types, add cooked grass-fed ground beef to the refried beans; Raw, substitute cheese with sun cheeses, substitute mayonnaise and sour cream with cashew or tofu mayonnaise; Vegans, use soy cheese and vegan mayonnaise.

The above list of ingredients and photos only shows half the original recipe!!! Half the recipe made enough for my family of three for three meals and snacks.

This recipe is open to your creativity. Layer it in your order, adjust the amount of each ingredient to the appropriate number of persons you’re serving. Make it your own!

Let me know if you’ve passed on the recipe to a friend.

Let me know how you’ve layered your dish.

Layered Taco Spread

Serves 12

2 cans (10 oz.) refried beans

1cup sour cream

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 envelope of taco seasoning

Combine above 3  ingredients

2-4 oz. cans of chopped green chilies

4 medium (or 3 large) ripe avocados

2 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of garlic

Combine above 4 ingredients

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups scallions

2 cups chopped tomatoes

6 oz. can of sliced black olives

On a large plate/platter layer each ingredients starting with the refried beans and ending with the olives. If you make a mistake or like the colors to look differently…this is fine too. It all tastes great in the end.


Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom


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