Brain Food: Almond-Crusted Salmon

Brain Food: Almond-Crusted Salmon

It's rare that I post recipes on my website. It's also rare that I make food that I like so much that I feel I MUST share it with the world. The preamble here is brief because I get annoyed when I look up a recipe on a website and have to scroll past a ton of narrative I'm not interested in, and that has no impact on my life when I'm only on the page because I want the fucking recipe.

frustrated child

Brain-boosting nutrition dominates this salmon dish. Read about how the brain bebefits from this dish on page 2 this post. There's a lot of info there.

After I ate this salmon dish for dinner, I took my dog for a walk and suddenly got clarity on a professional challenge that I'd been grappling with for over a month. There's one task that's been on my to-do list for weeks because although I thought I knew how I wanted it done, and although I could see in my head how it could look, it didn't seem quite right, and I just couldn't get the task out. Something was missing. After a piece of almond-crusted salmon and a dog walk, I received the answer in my mind  As I tweeted, “#brainfood & #exercise #FTW.” (And possibly some of the EFT that I did earlier.)

Now, here's the fucking recipe:

[Jump to recipe notes and nutrition notes.]

Almond-Crusted Salmon

Makes 2
(It's easy to increase or decrease serving size)


1/4 cup raw almonds
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
The Zest of 1 lemon [works for 1 or 2 servings of salmon] Salt and pepper to taste – or a few grinds of pepper and a couple of pinches of salt

1-2 tbsp coconut oil


  1. In a food processor or food chopper, chop the nuts and seeds until they are fine. This is the coating. The finer you get the mixture, the more likely it is to stick to the fish.
  2. Add the lemon zest and give it another pulse to mix
  3. Rinse the salmon and pat dry
  4. Put some coating on a plate
  5. Dredge each side of the salmon, patting the coating on if that helps it stick
  6. Heat 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil or olive oil in a pan over medium heat (amount depends on the size of the skillet you're using)
  7. Cook the salmon for 4-5 minutes per side.
  8. Serve over greens, such as spring mix, that's been drizzled with juice from the lemon you zested (1/2 a lemon should be enough, but you decide how wet you want it). You can also add a drizzle of sesame oil.

(Click images for full size)

Recipe notes:

  • You could start with almond meal or almond flour. I didn't have any.
  • You could use whatever seeds you'd like. Chia seeds and/or sunflower seeds would probably work. My intuition guided me to hemp and pumpkin.
  • You could replace the almonds with pecans or other nuts of choice (not peanuts).
  • I ended up with enough coating for two servings, even though I'd only thawed one piece of fish, so I've got some leftover coating for the next time. If you end up with more coating than you need, you can use it on salmon in the future, or use it as a topping for salad or yogurt. If you're not going to use the ground nuts and seeds in the next couple of days, freeze the leftovers. They could go rancid.
  • I didn't use the best quality salmon (it was a frozen fillet from a box, bought at a grocery store) but the execution was nearly perfect. I say “nearly” because I didn't chop the nuts finely enough.


My current “thing”: Golden Milk

My current “thing”: Golden Milk

Just as I recently jumped on the smoothie bowl (with gelatin to make it mousse-like) train, I've also recently jumped on the Golden Milk train. As a wellness nerd, I've been a dabbler in Ayurvedic medicine for years. I can't spell “Ayurvedic” and “Ayurveda” (I always want to swap the first y & u) but I have a good foundation of knowledge in it. I took my first workshop in Ayurveda about a decade ago, and 3 or so years ago I treated myself to a day at a Ayurvedic spa for my birthday. So, Golden Milk fascinates me and I feel like I should drink more of it because it's good for me.

What is Golden Milk?

It's milk with turmeric and other spices. Turmeric makes it golden color.

Why Golden Milk?

Golden Milk has been used in India and China for centuries. It's a staple in Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese medicine for its health benefits.

Curcumin, one of the bio-active ingredients in turmeric, has over 150 potentially therapeutic activities, including anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity, as shown by research studies. Some studies have concluded that curcumin is effective in treating arthritis.  Turmeric can be used to treat wounds, cuts, rashes, bruises, insect bites, and swelling. One study shows that it helps wounds heal faster.

Golden milk has lots of fantastic ingredients. Here's a basic recipe that I recently posted to Instagram:

I've since changed the recipe a bit, adding a few more ingredients. I've made Golden Milk with almond milk, coconut milk and dairy (cow) milk. I didn't like it with almond milk at all. Coconut was my favourite. I made one cup with my favourite greens powder, but it tasted so bad that I threw it out. I've made it with cardamom, even though I'm not a fan of cardamon.

More information about health benefits follows the recipe:

So, this is my basic recipe for Golden Milk

Golden Milk
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 2 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 2 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Golden Milk
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 2 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 2 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings: cup
  1. Simmer it all together, then blend in a blender.
Share this Recipe

Serve in your favorite mug, like I do.

My favourite mug is a Peet's coffee mug that my aunt bought me when I was visiting her in Berkeley a few years ago.

golden milk ingredients

Other Golden Milk ingredient benefits

I was hesitant to add pepper for awhile because I didn't want my golden milk too “spicy”, but now I add a few grinds because I was reminded that piperine, the alkaloid compound responsible for the pungency of black pepper, increases the bio-availability of curcumin. This means that it maximizes the benefits of curcumin. With a recent review of the scientific research showing that turmeric and curcumin might NOT be as beneficial as several studies suggest, I especially want it to be as bio-available as possible.

Coconut oil: This is one of my favourite ingredients ever. Coconut oil is one of my “deserted island” items. It's anti-viral, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, and anti-inflammatory. If you want to learn more about coconut oil from me, you can subscribe to my newsletter and get my “5 superfoods” e-course. Or, you can buy the full e-book for $9.

Cinnamon: It's heavy in polyphenols (anti-oxidants). It's anti-inflammatory. It helps lower blood sugar levels. Like coconut oil, it's anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. There's been some research done that shows that cinnamon can prevent and treat cancer. It's got vitamins, minerals and amino acids. A half teaspoon can have positive health affects.

Ginger: Ginger is part of the same plant family as turmeric. According to Ayurvedic medicine, it's an immune-booster. It's good for digestion and can help nutrients absorb better. It's anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal.

Honey: Honey has antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial and antioxidants properties and high nutrient value. It's another one you can read about in “5 superfoods”. (I've just given you 2 of 5.)

So there you go. Golden Milk. I've been adding turmeric to other things too, such as rice and oatmeal. I'm on a turmeric kick. It might be helping me recover from soreness from daily yoga sessions and when I work on my feet for several hours.


Further Ayurveda resources:

To avoid overwhelming you, here are just a few that I reference most often: Stillman: I enjoy the website, the mailing list and the podcast. You can listen straight from the website. I listen to the podcast while walking the dog but then read the show notes on my computer. Look for it in iTunes, Stitcher or whatever other podcast app your phone uses. (I use Stitcher for Android.)

The Chopra Center

Everyday Ayurveda

Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal

Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal

Winter recipe: Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal was originally published to my other blog,, on February 27, 2014. This is one of my favourite posts ever from that site.
An update: I've recently discovered Bob's Red Mill Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats. They are ready in under 10 minutes, stove top. I found them at Costco when they were being sampled. Online you can buy them at
So, you can choose overnight (steel cut) oatmeal, which smells delicious in the morning but requires planning, or the quick cooking steel cut oats, which cook while you shower.

Several years ago I went through a phase during which I’d make steel cut oats in my slow cooker once a week using Alton Brown’s Overnight Oatmeal recipe as a guideline (rather than a strict instruction) and portioning it out to make 4 servings last for 5 work days.

Recently I started making it again but with a half recipe each day for the two of us so that it’s fresh each day. Throwing the ingredients in the slow cooker before bed takes less time and motivation than whipping something up in the morning when I’m trying to get out the door. The smell of the cooked oats in the morning will get you out of bed.

I use a variety of add-ins. They include goji berries and other dried fruit, hemp seeds, flaked coconut, chia seeds, ground cinnamon (almost always those last two), sunflower lecithin granules and vanilla powder. I’ve added canned pumpkin. Sometimes I add yogurt when I portion it out.


Coconut Pumpkin Soup

Coconut Pumpkin Soup

A couple of weeks ago I was sick and in the seasonal coconut-curry frame of mind. I put together this soup based on a number of recipes that came up in a search. I didn't take photos of the process (after several years of food blogging I still often forget – or don't because I don't intend to blog about it) but I got photos of the end result. The leftovers were eaten with different toppings than the original serving.

This makes around 6 cups. I ate it over 3 meals.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced or grated
1 teaspoon curry powder OR curry blend (see below)
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder or another smokey spice. (I used ancho, but smoked paprika would work.)
1/2 – 796 mL/27 oz can pumpkin puree (or 2 15 ounce cans)
4 cups (a full 1 litre jar) stock: Turkey, chicken or vegetable
1 cup coconut milk
Optional: 1/2 cup sherry or white wine
Salt, to taste

Optional toppings:
Any combination of Sour cream, kefir or cashew cream, onion jam, avocado, hemp seeds, pecans, pumpkin seeds.


Pumpkin Smoothie

Pumpkin Smoothie

(I originally posted this on October 16 but then decided that I have enough material for “pumpkin week” and so pulled it back and rescheduled it.)

I made a fantastic pumpkin smoothie yesterday. I'd already intended to post about it and when I mentioned yesterday's pumpkin smoothie during a Twitter chat, I was asked about it.

The desire to make a pumpkin smoothie yesterday arose in the morning when I was scrolling Diane Sanfilippo Facebook page and came across her smoothie recipe. I pretty much used that one, but I did make some modifications, as I always do.

Pumpkin smoothie

My Pumpkin Pie Spice Smoothie:


Pumpkin Spice Latte: 2 Ways

Pumpkin Spice Latte: 2 Ways

It's that time of year again. The pumpkin has landed, pumpkin spice lattes and other products have reached their saturation point and the weather has cooled off.

As much as I enjoy the taste of a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (or “PSL” as they've been calling it – because the kids these days need everything abbreviated) I know that those are unhealthy so I limit them to only a couple per season – no whipped cream – so that I can have the experience without feeling conflicted. The current “PSL” (recently revised recipe), Grande size, contains  380 calories, 14 grams of fat, 240 milligrams of sodium and 50 grams of sugar. That's a lot of sugar. It's less unhealthy than it was before they changed the recipe, but it's still junk food in a cup. Plus, it also gets expensive to drink daily. At $4.95 for a Grande, if you're buying one every day during the “work week” you're spending nearly $25/week on PSLs. That's $100/month. Compare that to your necessary expenses such as cell phone bill.

Instead of drinking the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, I've been making my own pumpkin spice lattes. Not just pumpkin spice, but pumpkin-pumpkin spice. There's a difference. “Pumpkin spice” is a spice blend of sweet-smelling spices that generally makes people think of pumpkin pie. A basic pumpkin spice recipe is ground cinnamon, ground (dried) ginger, allspice and nutmeg, with most of it being ginger. Example:

credit: Daily Dish Magazine.

Credit: Daily Dish Magazine.

4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Adjust to suit your taste. I don't like too much clove.

Or buy it.


If something is “pumpkin spice” flavoured assume there's no pumpkin in it. Unless there is. (The new Starbucks recipe does have real pumpkin in their syrup.)

In my lattes, there's pumpkin.

Here are two lattes that I've been making recently. The first is the “butter latte” (you could do it the Bulletproof way), the second uses coconut milk, no butter.


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