New Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

pumpkinsmoothie

Get your pumpkin fix with this healthy, easy and delicious pumpkin pie smoothie.

Makes 1 serving

Gather:
1-2 frozen bananas
Half a can of organic pumpkin puree
Good sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp flaxseed
1 tsp hemp seeds
1 tsp blackstrap molasses

Make:
Put everything into your high speed blender and cover with water. Blend & enjoy!

Advertisements

Thai Inspired Spring Salad

Lately  I’ve been loving this fresh, crunchy salad. Use whatever vegetables and herbs you like!

thaisalad

Thai-Inspired Spring Salad
(serves 3-4)
1 package extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1” cubes
1 package of rice or soba noodles
1/2 head of Romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
2 carrots, julienned
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped (for garnish)

Dressing:
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
3/4 rice vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp chili flakes

To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients and stir.

Marinate the tofu in half of the dressing for at least 30 minutes. Heat your oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake the tofu into golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Cook the noodles to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water and set asid.

To assemble the salad, evenly divide the noodles, tofu, lettuce, cucumbers and carrots onto your plate. Top with cilantro, sprouts, green onions and peanuts. Ladle dressing over the entire salad and eat!


How to ferment your own veggies!

IMG_1935
Next in our probiotics series, all about making your own fermented vegetables. One of my favorite fermented condiment to make is kimchi. Kimchi is a Korean fermented vegetable condiment that is spicy and sour (and a little funky). It’s typically made with Napa cabbage, some kind of root vegetable like carrot or radish, chile paste and onion. I like to use is as a topping for stir fries and steamed vegetables – anything where you want to add some heat.

Home-made Kimchi Recipe:

Here is what you’ll need:
About one head of cabbage (Napa or regular), chopped (put aside 2 or 3 of the large outside leaves)
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
1 tsp chile paste or ground cayenne pepper
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
A large mixing bowl

A large jar or container for fermenting – do not use stainless steel or plastic. I use half gallon or full gallon glass mason jars. They also sell ceramic crocks that you can use for fermenting, but those are pretty pricy.
A small piece of cheesecloth and rubber band that fits over your jar.

Something to weigh down your ferment – 2 options are a ziploc bag filled with water or a small mason jar filled with beans.

Now let’s make some kimchi…
Combine all of the ingredients into a bowl and massage with your hands. You’ll want to do this for at least 5 minutes, until the cabbage starts releasing water. You want to release as much water from the veggies as possible.

Pack the mixture into your jar. Make sure there aren’t any large air bubbles. The mixture needs to be completely submerged in liquid. If is isn’t submerged, make a quick brine solution by mixing 2 cups of water with an additional 1/2 tsp sea salt. Cover the mixture with the large leaves you set aside, and put the weight on top. Cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth and rubber band.

Store the jar at room temperature for about 5-7 days. It should begin to produce little air bubbles, this means that the fermentation has begun. At 5 days begin to taste your kimchi. The longer you let it ferment, the more sour it gets – so continue tasting it until it tastes good to you. Don’t worry if there is mold or scum on top, this is called bloom and is completely normal. It’s just surface mold and won’t contaminate the kimchi, just skim it off. If you keep your house pretty cool it could take more than 7 days.

When it’s finished fermenting, put into a clean jar and store in your fridge for up to 6 months.

It’s basically the same process to ferment other veggies too! Get creative! In the photograph I’m also showing a traditional cabbage sauerkraut and a red cabbage apple kraut.


Gettin’ spicy with cinnamon

One of my favorite spices, especially this time of year, is cinnamon. Cinnamon has been used as food and medicine since ancient times. It comes from the rust colored inner bark of the cinnamon tree.I love it in smoothies, oatmeal, granola, coffee and hot toddies. Luckily, cinnamon has some great health boosting properties.

In addition to being delicious, cinnamon:

*Helps balance blood sugar, which is why it’s so great to add to smoothies and desserts

*Is rich in antioxidants that help reduce inflammation

*Reduces the risk of heart disease and also lowers blood pressure

*Boosts brain health – 2 compounds found in cinnamon appear to inhibit the buildup of the protein that is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease

*Keeps your teeth pearly white and your breath smelling fresh with its anti-microbial effects

Cinnamon Grapefruit Tea

IMG_1853
1/2 grapefruit
1 stick of cinnamon

Put the grapefruit and cinnamon in a tea pot (or a quart mason jar) and cover with boiling water. Let seep for 10 minutes, then enjoy! I love to drink this during the cold months.


THE BEST veggie burger recipe

Last week I wrote about making a big pot of beans every week. So here is another thing you can make with those beans – you own homemade veggie burgers! Have you ever read the label of most store bought veggie burgers? Can you identify everything listed there? Likely, not so. Making your own is cheaper and healthier. Sure, it does take more time… but you can make one large batch and freeze for later.

Black Bean Veggie Burgers
Makes 10 good-sized burgers.

Gather:

1/2 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup of cooked brown rice (short grain works best)

3 cups of cooked black beans

2 tsp coconut oil

1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2” pieces

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 of a 8 oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (freeze the rest for later)

1 TBSP ground flaxseed

1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400.

Toss the butternut squash on a baking pan with 1 tsp coconut oil. Roast until tender – about 25 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, chop and prep everything else.

Saute the onion and garlic over medium low heat in 1 tsp of coconut oil until onion is translucent.

Put all of the prepped ingredients into a large bowl – including the squash. Mash it all together with your hands, then form into 10 patties.

Bake the patties at 400 for 20 minutes – turning once.

Eat, or freeze, or save to grill later!

I like to eat these served on a lettuce leaf with some tomato and avocado – yum!


What I’ve been eating lately – june/july

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! I thought it be fun to write about what foods and beverages I’ve been including in my diet lately. What foods and drinks I gravitate towards always changes with the seasons. Lately, I’ve been really keeping it simple with my meals, and am drinking a lot of smoothies.

Brown Rice Noodles :: My husband and I love to make veggie stir fries with brown rice noodles, then add Sriracha, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or homemade peanut sauce. You can find them in the Asian Section of your grocery store.

Homemade Sauerkraut :: Real sauerkraut is actually pretty easy to make! By real sauerkraut, I mean no canned or pasteurized – if you’re not buying it in the fridge section of the store it’s not the real deal. It’s great for gut health, and it’s pretty darn tasty. I add it to salads, as a topping to stir fries, or own its own as a snack. If you want to DIY  your own, try this recipe.

Coconut Water :: It’s hot out and I live at a high elevation. Mix that with running several times a week, and that equals dehydration! Coconut water has natural electrolytes, and always energizes and revives me. If you ever get a headache on a really hot and sunny day, try drinking some coconut water for relief. I go for plain coconut water, no pulp, whatever’s cheapest.

Cherries :: The organic cherries in season right now are SO GOOD. I can’t stop eating them! Coming in second place are organic strawberries. I love fruit in the summer.

Tiger Nuts: I recently discovered these at a conference. They have a sweet, almost maple, taste and are pretty filling. They are actually not a nut, but a small root veggie – weird! Don’t be scared, try em. I buy this brand.

My new favorite smoothie :: This is inspired by a smoothie recipe in The Plant Power Way cookbook, which I highly recommend. It is so refreshing on a hot day.

Blueberry Basil Smoothie:

1/2” slice of ginger

1/2” slice of beet

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 frozen banana

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

2 handfuls of spinach (or 2 large kale leaves, stripped off stems)

8 basil leaves

1/2 lemon, peeled

2-3 cups water

Blend!


Beans, beans…

Where do you get your protein? That’s almost always the first question I get asked when I tell people I eat a plant-based diet. The answer? Well, first, protein is in all fruits, vegetables and grains, and most people are eating more than an adequate amount. Most of the protein in my diet comes from beans. I make a big pot of beans every week and build my week’s meals around that.

Even if you don’t eat a plant-based diet, there are some great reasons for eating beans. Beans are loaded with iron, B vitamins, and soluble fiber that may help to lower or maintain your blood cholesterol. If you are trying to lose weight, ditch the saturated fat from animal protein and switch in more beans. They are filling and satisfying. They are also inexpensive, especially if you buy them in dry form.

I encourage you to try making your beans from scratch. It’s so easy, and so much cheaper than buying canned. Let’s say you buy a can of beans for $1.50. You could make 4 times that amount of beans for the same amount of money by buying dried. Even though it takes awhile to cook a pot of beans, you can do it while you’re cooking dinner, cleaning, watching tv, reading, whatever. My favorite beans are black beans and chick peas.

Make a pot of beans…

Ingredients

1 cup of dried beans of your choice (see cooking chart below)

Directions

  1.    Rinse.
  2.    Soak for 6 hours or overnight.
  3.    Drain and rinse the beans.
  4.    Place the beans in a heavy pot and add 3 to 4 cups of water.
  5.    Bring to a full boil and skim off the foam.
  6.    Add flavor! Bay leaves or garlic cloves taste great and also add digestibility.
  7.    Cover, and let simmer.

Check beans 30 minutes before the minimum cooking time.

Add 1 teaspoon of unrefined sea salt 10 minutes before the end of cooking time.

  1.    Beans should be tender and soft to squeeze when finished.

Cooking times per 1 cup of dry beans  

Black 60-90 minutes
Lentils 30-45 minutes
Black-eyed peas 60 minutes
Lima beans 60-90 minutes
Cannellini 90-120 minutes
Navy 60-90 minutes
Chickpeas (garbanzos) 120-180 minutes
Pinto 90 minutes
Kidney 60-90 minutes
Split peas  45-60 minutes

Recipe: Black Bean Quinoa Salad
blackbeanquinoasalad

2 cups cooked black beans
1/2 cup of quinoa
1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno, diced
3 green onions, diced
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lime, juiced

Cook the quinoa in 1 cup of water – bring to a boil, put on low covered for 13 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop and mince all of the veggies & herbs, add to a big bowl with the beans. Mix the dressing.

Once the quinoa is done cooking, let cool. Then add to the bowl with the dressing.

Keeps in the fridge for 4-5 days.


Tiny Mighty Chia Seeds

UnknownChia seeds – these little seeds are pretty popular these days, so I thought we’d take a closer look at chia seeds today. Chia seeds have been used as a source of nutrition for hundreds of years, and are known to be eaten by the ancient Aztecs. Aztec warriors survived on chia seeds – they are light and easy to carry in small amounts. In his book Born to Run, Chris McDougall observes the chia seed as a staple of the diet of the Tarahumara – a Mexican tribe of superathletes who routinely do runs of 50 to 100 miles.

These little black or white seeds are packed with protein, antioxidants, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Chia seeds can help restore energy levels and have been used to help combat dehydration. If you’re a child of the 80s you may remember chia seeds from chia pets!

The chia seeds themselves have a pretty subtle flavor. This makes them easy to include in many recipes pretty easily. They form a gel when mixed with liquid, so you can make an easy, healthy pudding. You can also include them in granola, oatmeal and smoothies.

Vanilla Chia Pudding

photo 3
Gather:
3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 cup almond milk
Pinch of vanilla bean powder
Pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp of maple syrup (optional)
For topping: raspberries, coconut flakes, hemp seeds

THE NIGHT BEFORE: Whisk all of the ingredients (except for toppings). Let sit for a half hour. Whisk again. Transfer to a pint-sized mason jar and store in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, stir and add toppings to taste. I love this topped with fresh berries, with hemp seeds sprinkled on top.

*Requires prep the night before


Cherry Cacao Smoothie

It’s no secret that I kinda love smoothies. I drink one most days as my breakfast or post-work out. This is my absolute favorite smoothie recipe. It is loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, protein and healthy fats. And, it’s freakin’ delicious and tastes like dessert!

Gather:

3 leaves of kale, stripped from stems

1 frozen banana

1 cup frozen cherries

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 teaspoon cacao powder

1 tsp cacao nibs

5 Brazil nuts (or 10 almonds)

2 cups water

Make:

First, add the water and kale to your blender and blend. Then add the seeds, nuts and cacao, put the frozen fruit on top, and blend. Serve with some hemp seeds and cacao nibs sprinkled on top if you want it to look pretty. This makes one large smoothie.


How to eat your green leafs!

Greens are pretty much the most nutritious thing you can eat. They are loaded in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E and K. They also contain high amounts of fiber, folic acid and chlorophyll and many other micronutrients. In fact, dark leafy greens are the most nutrient dense food we can eat, as according to the CDC’s list of nutrient dense foods.

Growing up, I didn’t experience eating a lot of greens. I had lettuce on a sandwich, the occasional salad, and that was about it. In fact, it wasn’t until I was out of college living on my own that I tried kale for the first time. I wasn’t feeling well, and one of my housemates cooked up some kale with garlic for me. Later, I joined a CSA, and was forced to learn how to cook with kale, chard, collards, bok choy and more. Now, I strive to eat greens on a daily basis, both cooked and raw. I love spring because it means I will have access to fresh greens!

This saute of greens is my “go to” way to cook greens. It’s easy and quick. Try it with kale, chard, collards, broccoli rabe and any other green you come across. Choose local, organic greens if you can.

Green Garlic Saute
sauteedgreens (1)

Serves: 2 large servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-10 minutes

Gather:
Kale – one bunch, organic
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Sea salt to taste

Make:

Strip the kale leaves from the stems. Discard the stems (or save for juicing) and chop up the leaves.

Heat the coconut oil up in a pan on medium high heat.

Add the garlic and pepper flakes and stir for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the kale to the pan along with a little bit of water. Stir, lower heat to medium low, and cover. Steam the greens in the pan until wilted. Then remove the lid and continue cooking greens until tender – just a few minutes. Season with salt to taste.

Here are ways to enjoy your greens:
*with quinoa and beans
*as a topping for a baked sweet potato
*with mac and cheeze
*with roasted potatoes