Aug 28, 2008

Ancient Theory - The Doctrine of Signatures

I received an interesting email about the history of an ancient theory called the "Doctrine of Signatures". Immediately I thought of a post I did a while back showing images of foods and their corresponding body organ or body "part". Little did I know at the time that I did that post that it was based on this theory.

Here is part one of what I hope will be a series of articles on the
History of The Doctrine of Signatures.

The theory that nature provides clues as to the beneficial uses of plants is known as The Doctrine Of Signatures. The earliest known references to this theory are the writings of Galen (131-200 AD). Some 1,400 years later The Doctrine Of Signatures was expanded upon by several authors of note:

Paracelsus (1493-1541 AD) was born Phillip von Hohenheim, who later took up the names Philippus Theophrastus Aureolus, Bombastus von Hohenheim, and finally taking the title Paracelsus. He is regarded as the father of modern chemistry. The writings of Paracelsus are regarded as the earliest formal account of The Doctrine Of Signatures and had a significant influence in bringing the concept into the medicinal realm.

Jakob Boehme (1575-1624 AD) offered two books which further expanded upon The Doctrine Of Signatures from both physical and spiritual aspects. His books Signatura Rerum (The Signature Of All Things) and Aurora were published in the early 17th Century.

William Coles (1626-1662 AD) was a 17th century botanist, herbalist and physician. He authored a book titled The Art Of Simpling which reflected a contemporary belief that the appearance of a plant provides a clue, or signature, which indicates its beneficial medicinal use.

Surprisingly, little has been written on the topic since the 17th century. But now that modern day researchers are focusing more resources on the study of whole foods, the concept is once again coming into focus. The latest scientific research offers a good bit of anecdotal evidence suggesting that The Doctrine Of Signatures does hold true in many cases, including signatures that appear at a microscopic level – here is our first example.

All our lives we've been told to eat our carrots, they help improve your eyesight. Maybe you've wondered - what exactly is it about the carrot that is good for my eyes? That would be the beta-carotene. In addition to giving the carrot its name and orange color, it also converts to vitamin A in the body which helps improve vision. The vitamin A forms a purple pigment called rhodopsin the eye needs to see in dim light. Rhodopsin production is spurred by vitamin A, raising the effectiveness of the light-sensitive area of the retina.

You can find carrots along with their health imparting properties in some of your favorite Wholefood Farmacy foods such as Veggielicious and Veggielicious Spice.

Updated 2/10/16

Aug 23, 2008

Recipe: Prize-Winning Colorado Striped Bass Panzanella

Today's recipe is a contest-winner at the "Great American Seafood cook off of 2008", and let me tell you why I chose this particular winning recipe, Colorado Striped Bass Panzanella, by Chef Paul Anders of Colorado.

First, it looked fairly easy, and that is so important to me when it comes to preparing meals.

Second, and there's a little personal bias in this reason, my hubby is born and raised in Colorado and though we don't live there now, have been so many times and I just love the state.

Third, even though it is a seafood competition, Bass is something that can be in fresh or brackish water, and even though "Colorado Striped Bass" is used in the recipe, Bass is available right here in the lake we live on, how much closer to home can you get than fish from your own backyard? Using local fish or seafood is the best way to go for many reasons, not the least of which is freshness..and by the way, the recipe looked good.

So I guess most of my reasons for choosing this, since I couldn't taste it ahead of time, were based on the way this recipe touches me in a personal way in many areas.

I am providing the recipe for you here, and would also like to encourage you to stop over at and choose your favorite recipe...not only because they all look great, but you may win a trip to New Orleans!

Here's what you'll need and how to cook this recipe:

Colorado Striped Bass
9 six ounce filets, Colorado hybrid Striped Bass, trimmed, scaled, scored on the skin, cut the filets in half

Oil for shallow frying
1 lemon, fine zest
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat ½ inch of oil in two large skillets. Season the bass filets with salt, pepper, and zest on the flesh side. Pan fry the bass skin side down until crisp and golden brown. Turn the filets over, being careful not to splash the hot oil and continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through. Remove the fish and drain over towels. Season the skin with salt.

Farmer’s Market Panzanella

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound fresh ciabatta bread or similar light white bread
4 large ripe tomatoes, cubed into ½ inch pieces (I use a beefsteak grown locally in CO)
3 ounces, baby green shallots or other sweet onions, shaved as thin as possible
12 ounces young cucumber, sliced thinly
1 ounce Picholine olives, split
1 ounce Kalamata olives, split
8 large basil leaves, torn into 1 inch pieces
8-10 mint leaves, torn into 1 inch pieces
½ lemon, juice and zest
Sea salt and Cracked black pepper, to taste

The most important part of this recipe is to use the freshest, ripest, produce you can find at your local farmer’s market or from your backyard garden. It is a simple dish using excellent ingredients. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a deep pan and add the ciabatta and toast until a light golden brown and slightly crispy. Place all of the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, except the herbs, lemon, and oil. Toss the salad very lightly, so you don’t crush the tomatoes. Add the herbs, lemon zest and lemon juice and toss while adding the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Crispy Eggplant

2 pounds rice flour
750 milliliters sparkling water
250 milliliters Shock Top beer
1 large eggplant, cut into ¼ inch thick rounds, about 18 slices
Salt, to taste
Oil for frying
Herb Yogurt (recipe below)

Heat 1” of oil in a deep heavy bottom pan to 350 degrees. Mix 1 ½ lbs of the rice flour with the sparkling water and beer to form a batter. Season the eggplant lightly with salt and let stand for 15 minutes to draw out moisture and bitterness. Pat the eggplant dry and dust in the remaining ½ lb. of rice flour, then dip each piece in the batter and place immediately in the oil. Pan fry until crisp and very light brown and turn each piece over. You may have to do this in batches if you have a small pan/pot. You can also use a deep fryer. Remove the eggplant and season with salt. Top with herb yogurt mixture.

Herb Yogurt

4 ounces yogurt
2 ounces sour cream
1 ounce flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ lemon, zest and juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients.

Plate Assembly

1 ounce flat leaf parsley
1 lemon, zest, chopped fine
2 Tablespoons Aged Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Stack the eggplant on a large platter. Drizzle the Eggplant with the herb yogurt and sprinkle with the chopped parsley and lemon zest. Place the panzanella on the sides of a long platter. Place the bass filets along the center between the salad. Drizzle the fish with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, serve and enjoy.

Updated 2/10/16

Aug 6, 2008

Insomnia, Not the Movie, I'm Tired

If you haven't seen the 2002 movie, "Insomnia" starring Al Pacino and Robin Williams, and you like intense crime thriller type movies, it's a must see, but that's not what I'm here to write about.

Recently I've been experiencing some insomnia, and so when WebMD had an article on the subject it caught my eye. They had a lot of good information about how often many use sleeping aids, how your not supposed to use them for more than a certain period of time (I didn't know that). They shared that the key things that people have in common who don't get a good night's sleep are:

  • Health Problems
  • Family Concerns
  • Financial Concerns
  • Worry about Work
All of us experience these things at some point in our lives. Sometimes a few at a time, as our family did when my husband lost his job, got a new one and both of us lost a parent within a week of each other, and frankly, every day can bring a concern of it's own. Here are a few things that help me a lot:
  • Spiritually = Mentally - You must read the words of Jesus in Matthew 6, starting at about v. 25, but the rest is great too. They are so comforting if you have a relationship with God through Christ, and so many places in the Bible God reminds us he will provide all of our needs, maybe not everything we want, but definitely what we need if we trust in Him.
  • Physically - I've been busy, but not the kind of busy that gets me outside walking, getting enough physical exercise. I sleep SO much better after a day of physical exercise or labor.
  • Food - Of course it's good to eat a well-balanced diet, and then there's the herbs that help with sleep, herbs are food sources with medicinal properties, but in the complete package God created, not chemical derivatives of the properties formulated in a laboratory. I use combinations like Herbal Sleep. You can ask me about how to get some in the comment section, I moderate comments, and don't approve comments that contain private requests.
  • Lighting - We made the mistake of getting new blinds that were WHITE after having dark ones for years, and our bedroom is on the sunny side of the house. Light affects your sleep dramatically, no matter how late (or early) you get to bed. Make sure you block the light that comes into your windows unless you are a very early riser.
  • Getting to Bed - There are many things that can tempt us to stay up to late, or into the wee hours of the morning, a good book, a favorite TV show, or the newest diversion, spending time on the internet. I find the last one on the list to be my greatest challenge, it used to be reading. So figure out when you usually get up, the do the math to determine how to get your 7-8 hours of sleep.
Updated 2/10/16
Sweet dreams, everyone.

Aug 1, 2008

Recipe from an Author: Orange Roughy Soup

Here is a yummy recipe that will be one of many in a book by Debra Shiveley Welch's son, Christopher - "Christopher's Family Table - Inheriting Family Recipes and Traditions From Adopted Kin and Clan". Watch for details on the book, and view other titles by Debra and Christopher on a variety of topics at

Debra is challenged with a few food allergies, so if she can eat and enjoy this recipe, I'm sure it's not only delicious, but healthy!


  • 1 cup clam juice and 2 cups low sodium organic chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 ½ pound orange roughy cut into bite-size pieces
  • Creole seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup assorted wild mushrooms, stemmed and sliced or crimini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup cleaned romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup cleaned spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Combine clam juice, chicken stock and saffron. Bring just to a simmer and remove from heat. Allow it to sit for ten minutes.

Season the orange roughy with your Creole seasoning.

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the fish and sauté for one minute. Then add the mushrooms, tomatoes, basil, green onions, Garlic, romaine and spinach and sauté for one minute.

Pour in the clam juice, chicken stock, saffron mixture and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt pepper. Serve immediately.