May 27, 2014

Spring Soups

Prepare these soups ahead so you can enjoy a simple meal when you get home after a long day in the green beauty of the blossoming world.

Spring Tomato Soup


You will need:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon each: rosemary and thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 large can crushed tomatoes OR 1 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Chop onions and garlic.
Add to a soup pot with olive oil.
Sauté on medium heat for 10 minutes.
Add carrot, potatoes, salt, rosemary and thyme.
Sauté for 10 more minutes, then add tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.
Add 2 cups water.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, or until flavors have incorporated.
Blend with immersion blender if you prefer a creamier soup.
Enjoy! Garnish with unsweetened yogurt if you like.

Creamy Chervil Soup


inspired by Nadia Hassani

You will need:
6 ounces fresh chervil, stems and leaves separated1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup milk (cow, rice or almond)
2 egg yolks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Bring chervil stems and stock to a simmer in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat
Simmer, covered, until stems are tender, about 10 minutes.
Strain stock, discarding stems; return to pan and keep warm.
Purée chervil leaves, milk, parsley, yolks, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth.
Whisk in the broth until smooth.
Enjoy with a garnish of fresh parsley if you like.


Carrot Soup with Herbed Yogurt


For the soup:
6 medium carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water
1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander
1/2 teaspoon each: turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the yogurt sauce:
¼ cup unsweetened, whole yogurt or soy yogurt
1 chive, minced
1 handful fresh parsley, minced
1 handful fresh basil, minced
pinch salt

For the soup: Put carrots, oil, water, and spices into a medium pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid has evaporated and carrots are very soft, about 1/2 hour.

Purée carrot mixture with immersion blender and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Serve with yogurt sauce.
To prepare the sauce, mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
Serve a spoonful as garnish in each bowl of soup.

May 21, 2014

Picnic Time

As the weather gets warmer and the brilliant shades of green decorate the countryside, take time to sit outdoors and enjoy a meal. Bring your favorite foods, and remember to drink plenty of water.
Here are some recipe to inspire your next picnic.

Tahini Date Cookies

Tahini, roasted sesame seed butter, is one of the best vegan sources of calcium to promote healthy bones, teeth and heart.

You will need:
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup dates, chopped
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 cups oats
pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom
3 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.
In a food processor mix together the dates, water, tahini, and maple until creamy and blended.
Pour into a bowl and mix together with the oats, salt, spices and olive oil.
Scoop out spoonfuls of the batter on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, to desired crispness.

Tacos

This is a nourishing and creative way to enjoy a gluten-free feast and honor the gastronomic traditions of Central and South America.

For 6 people, you will need:
12 corn tortillas
1 cup queso fresco or any cheese you like
1 quart cooked beans -  I like pinto or black beans
2 fresh limes, cut into quarters
1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
salsa fresca 

To prepare salsa fresca, chop:
2 ripe tomatoes
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
2 handfuls cilantro or parsley if you prefer

In a bowl, mix these together with:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lime

Assemble tacos, drizzle with salsa, and enjoy!

Avocado Hummus

This Middle Eastern dish is full of vegan protein and fiber from the chickpeas and polyunsaturated fat from the avocados.

You will need:
1 ripe avocado, cut in half, skin and stone removed
One 14 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed OR 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
One clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon tahiniJuice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon each: paprika, coriander, and cumin 
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
6 pieces of pita bread for serving

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
Chill in the fridge for one hour before serving with pita bread.


May 7, 2014

Brownies!

Because it's spring, because the sun is shining, because chocolate has healing powers, try this recipe.

Cacao beans, once harvested, fermented, and roasted, are a particularly potent source of healing antioxidants. 

Georgetown University studies show that flavonols, antioxidants found in chocolate, help lower your levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and boost "good" HDL cholesterol. They ease inflammation and help prevent clotting and arterial plaque formation.

Natural unsweetened cocoa powder has the highest level of cocoa flavonols and is the healthiest form of chocolate. 


Try to buy organic, Fair Trade–certified cocoa powder. Fair Trade certification aims to protect farmers in developing countries from exploitation by large corporations or from price fluctuations for commodity crops. In order to be Fair Trade–certified, companies are required to pay farmers a fair price for crops, enabling farmers to pay their workers a living wage, avoid using child labor and practice environmentally friendly farming methods.

Brownies


You will need: 
1 1/2 cups rice OR spelt flour
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (i.e. ground flaxseeds)
1/4 cup organic cocoa powder
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup boiling water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
Grease an 8″ x 8″ brownie pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, cinnamon and salt together.
Add the maple, vanilla, and oil into the dry ingredients and mix well. 
The batter will be clumpy. 
Add the hot water and mix until batter becomes thick.
Pour into brownie pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick/knife comes out clean.
Allow to sit in the pan and cool for about 20 minutes.

May 4, 2014

Immune-Boosting Delights

These are wonderful foods to incorporate into your diet to boost immunity and curb sweet cravings.

Sweet Potato: high in omega 3 essential fatty acids to tonify the internal organs and strengthen immunity; rich in carotenoids, whose anti-oxidant content offers anti-inflammatory support; high in vitamin C to boost immunity; rich in B vitamins to reduce stress.

Black pepper: although it’s known for making you sneeze, black pepper can actually help to ward off the sniffles. Black peppercorns are high in piperine, a compound with anti-inflammatory qualities that can reduce swelling in joints. Piperine also helps you absorb the benefits of other spices.Try for 2 teaspoons of both black pepper and oregano per week to boost your immunity.

Lime: both the skin and juice of this citrus fruit contain a natural flavonoid called hesperidin, which is shown to help combat cancer and ward off viruses and bacteria that cause the stomach flu. Avoid drinking undiluted juice to protect your teeth. Add lime to salads, water, or use it as a salt alternative when sprinkled on veggies.

Tahini: a classic Mediterranean flavor, this peanut butter-like spread is made from ground sesame seeds. It contains two immunity-boosting ingredients: magnesium and zinc. Magnesium is essential for optimal immune function, while zinc protects against infection. Try tahini with hummus or in an open-faced sandwich with honey and apple.


Sweet Potato Muffins


You will need:
1 large sweet potato, steamed for 10 minutes or until tender
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup millet flour
1 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon each: black pepper and cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
a pinch of sea salt


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop and roast sweet potato in sunflower oil and salt for 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk the oil, almond milk, maple and vanilla.
Add the flours, spices, and salt.
Once sweet potato is roasted, mash it with a fork and fold it into the batter. It can stay chunky.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.


Oil 12 muffin cups, fill 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes.
Let muffins cool before serving. They are delicious with almond butter!



Blueberry Chia Lime Smoothie


In a blender, combine and blend:
2 cups organic frozen blueberries
juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon raw honey
1/2 cup water

Yum!



Tahini Yogurt Dip



In a bowl, mix:
1 cup full fat unsweetened yogurt
1 minced clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of tahini 
juice of 1 lemon 

Enjoy!
This makes a great dip for veggies or a spread
inside a sandwich wrap.

May 2, 2014

Terrific Rice Dishes


Pair any of these dishes with grilled meats, cooked beans or sauteed tempeh for a lovely meal!

Cauliflower Risotto


You will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon each: thyme and rosemary
1 teaspoon sea salt
black pepper to taste
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
1 cup short grain brown rice
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
parmesan cheese if desired

In a medium-sized pot, heat olive oil. Add the shallots, garlic, and spices and saute for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant and translucent. 
Add cauliflower and saute for 5 minutes, covered.
Add the rice, toast briefly, and then cover with vegetable broth.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 40 minutes.
Stir, add parmesan cheese if desired (about 1/4 cup), and serve piping hot!

***

Nutty Rice Flatbread


Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a spice grinder, grind:


1 cup sweet nuts (almonds or pecans)
1 cup savory nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts)
1 cup seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)

Mix together in a bowl with1 cup leftover rice. Make sure you have cooked the grains down into a porridge-like consistency before mixing them in with the nuts and seeds.

Add ½ teaspoon salt and any spices you like.
Try one of these combinations: cumin, coriander, turmeric OR thyme, coriander, oregano.
If mixture is a bit dry, add a few splashes of olive oil. Mix well before adding any additional oil – the nuts already contain oil.

Grease a cookie sheet with oil and spread mixture in a thin layer.
Bake for 1 hour. Enjoy!

***

Sweet Potato Rice Cakes


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a cookie sheet with vegetable oil (I like grapeseed or sunflower oil).

Combine these ingredients in a mixing bowl:
1 cup rice flour

4 tablespoons flaxseed meal (ground flax seeds)
pinch salt
½ teaspoon each: nutmeg, coriander and cinnamon

Make a well in the center and add:
1 heaping spoonful almond butter
2 heaping spoonfuls melted coconut oil
1 cup steamed, mashed sweet potatoes

Make a well in the center, combine the wet ingredients and stir until thoroughly blended.
Incorporate wet and dry ingredients until they are well combined.

Shape into cakes/patties, place each one on cookie sheet, and bake for 25 minutes.
Yum!

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