Blood Orange Carrot Ginger Juice

IMG_2094

Add to your juicer:
2 peeled blood oranges
4 carrots
1″ piece of ginger

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.


Pantry Makeover!

IMG_0067The change in season is the perfect time to reset your kitchen. You in? Let’s do this!

First, we’re going to clean out all of the crappy, unhealthy stuff. Take a breath, you’ll be fine. I’ll be offering up suggestions on how to restock your kitchen in a bit.

In the pantry and fridge, toss:

  1. Anything with a ton of sugar. Remember we should be eating 20 grams of sugar a day AT THE MOST. You’ll most likely find cereals, crackers, cookies and other sweets and even sauces (like tomato or bbq sauce) have more sugar than you really want. Surprisingly, many nut butters have added sugar as well.
    Instead of cereal, consider a bowl of good old oatmeal. 
  2. Anything with artificial sweeteners. Did you know that there have been no formal studies showing eating/drinking artificial sweeteners help you lose weight? And, some of those chemicals have been thought to trigger digestive issues, headaches, and worse. Not worth it, ditch it.
    f you really crave a sweetener, try maple syrup or raw honey. 
  3. Anything expired. This is probably obvious, but while you’re cleaning out the kitchen, toss old expired stuff.
  4. Anything made with white flour and not whole grains. Think breads and bread products and pasta.
    Go with whole grain and sprouted grain bread, and whole grain pasta or brown rice pasta. 
  5. Margarine and other products with more than 5 ingredients. Margarine has a lot of weird chemical ingredients that are hard to digest. And, it doesn’t really fill you up. Coconut oil or organic grass fed butter are much better choices than margarine. 
  6. Processed meats and cheese. These contain gross chemicals and preservatives, and way more sodium than you need or want.
    Purchase organic, high quality meats and organic dairy. 
  7. Flavored yogurt. Ok, so you should have already tossed these if you read the amount of sugar they contain. But, most people I talk with think of yogurt as a health food. Not so. They usually contain a crazy high amount of sugar.
    Plain yogurt with fresh fruit and raw honey is just as sweet and way healthier. 
  8. Soda, diet soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, bottled tea. We all know that soda has a ton of sugar and other gross chemicals, right? Sports drinks don’t get a pass here. Oh yeah, and those bottled juices? They are also laden with sugar and not really natural since they are from concentrate.
    Better choices are water, water infused with fresh fruit, and coconut water if you work out a lot.

Ok, now it’s time to restock. Let the fun begin!

Add to your fridge & pantry:

  1. Fresh fruits and veggies! The more the better! Choose seasonal and organic when you can.
  2. Essential fridge items: nut milks, whole grain breads and wraps, tofu and tempeh, miso. If you do not eat plant-based: organic grass-fed meats, organic yogurts and cheeses.
  3. Whole grains, whole grain flours, whole-grain pastas…
  4. Beans! There are over 800 varieties, but I like to stock black beans, lentils, and garbanzo. Get both dry and canned.
  5. Canned and jarred vegetables: capers, artichokes, olives, tomatoes, pumpkin puree
  6. Get lots of condiments to flavor your meals: all vinegars, hot sauces, nut & seed butters, Tamari sauce, quality jarred salsas, high-quality olive and coconut oil.
  7. Go crazy on seasonings! Sea salt, spice mixes, dried herbs and spices, nutritional yeast, liquid sweeteners (raw honey, maple syrup)
  8. Gettin’ snackie with dried fruits, nuts & seeds, whole-grain crackers, granola, hummus

Make Your Own: Almond Nut Milk
IMG_1735One of my favorite staples to go DIY with is nut milks. Here is a simple and easy recipe to make your own almond milk. Once you start making your own, you will never buy store-bought again – it is that much better, and cheaper!

This makes about 1 quart of almond milk, which will keep in your fridge for about 5 days.

You can use this basic recipe with other nuts too, like pecans, walnuts, brazil nuts and hazelnuts.

Gather:
1 cup of raw almonds
4 cups of filtered water
1 nut milk bag

Make:

Put the almonds into a large bowl, then cover with water by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight.

Drain the almonds, add to blender with 4 cups filtered water. Blend until milky.

Put a large bowl in your sink. Pour the milk until the nut bag to filter out the almond meal. Done!

Optional: Return the milk to the blender and add a pinch of vanilla powder and 2 pitted dates and blend. This makes a sweeter version of almond milk.


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.


Easy Plant-based Mac & Cheez Recipe

IMG_1460So, mac and cheese is probably my favorite comfort food. When I was growing up, I loved the stuff you made from the box – Kraft. Now, not only do I avoid food that comes from a box, but I avoid the dairy too.

That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy mac & cheese though! In fact, this recipe, which uses cashews as a base instead of cheese and butter – is not only tastier but easier and faster than making the “real” thing! And, I would argue its a heck of lot healthier too. Try this plant-based cheez sauce recipe & I guarantee you’ll be making it again.

Gather:
Pasta (I like brown rice pasta) – one package
2 cloves garlic
1 cup of raw cashews soaked in water for at least one hour
1 1/2 tbsp of Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast

Make the pasta according to the package directions.

Drain the cashews.

Add the cashews and the rest of the remaining ingredients to the blender. Start to add water to blend into a sauce. I start with about 1 cup of water. Add water, blend… if you want it thinner just keep adding small amounts of water. It will end up a creamy consistency.

Stir in the cashew cheez sauce into the cooked and drained cashew. I added some chopped parsley here.

Get creative – try adding miso, chipotle and other seasonings to the sauce. Throw your favorite veggies in with the pasta – I like kale, fresh tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and / or mushrooms.


Steel Cut Oats with blackberries, coconut and hemp seeds

steelcutoatsI’ve been on a big oatmeal kick lately. It’s the best on cold spring mornings. Steel cut oats take a little longer to cook, but you end up with several servings.

Gather:
1 cup steel cut oats
Almond milk – about 1/2 cup
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt
Toppings: blackberries, flaked coconut, hemp seeds

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Slowly stir in the oats, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Keep boiling until it starts to thicken. Then, turn heat to low and simmer the oats for about 30 minutes – until its a thick porridge consistency.

Turn heat off, and stir in the almond milk and coconut oil. Top with blackberries, flaked coconut and hemp seeds (or make up your own toppings).


Banana Baked Oatmeal

Spring is finally here! Even though the days are getting warmer here in Colorado, the mornings are quite cold. I made this baked oatmeal recipe on a lazy, cold, Saturday morning recently. It was delicious! Try topping with a drizzle of maple syrup and some fresh blueberries.

Serves 4

Gather:
2 cups oats
2 cups almond milk
1 banana pureed or thinly sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp of vanilla powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Coconut Oil

Preheat oven to 375.

Grease a baking pan or cast iron pan with coconut oil. The cast iron pan I used here is 9″ diameter.

Mix the oats, almond milk, banana, spices and baking powder. Put into the cast iron pan.

Top with the walnuts and pecans and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Bake for 30 minutes.