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Sprouted Buckwheat Salad and Red Lentil Burgers

I've had a few recipes hanging around that I keep meaning to post, so today I am just going to put them out there for you.  Pictures to follow when I have more time! Raw buckwheat is a new addition to my diet.  I tried buckwheat flour a while back and found it to be a very strong flavor… and one that I don’t care for.  So, much to my delight, the mild, nutty flavor of raw buckwheat is a welcome addition to the list of good grains. Sprouted Buckwheat Salad 1 cup raw buckwheat, soaked for 4-8 hours, drained and sprouted for up to 2 days 1 cup raw sunflower seeds 1 pepper, any color, diced 2 cups white beans, homemade or canned (rinse them well if canned) 1 cup cilantro, minced Vinaigrette Juice of 1 ½ lemons 1 Tbsp olive oil 1 shallot, minced 2 cloves of garlic, minced pinch of salt several grinds of pepper Combine all ingredients in a pretty bowl.  The flavors get stronger as the salad sits, so allow for a few hours of fridge time before serving if you have time.    Red Lentil Burgers 1 ½ cups red lentils 2 carrots (about 1 cup) 1 leek (about 1 cup) ½ cup almonds 1 tsp chipotle powder or 1 chipotle pepper with a bit of adobo (from a can) 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp smoked paprika 1 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos 1 Tbsp olive oil ¼ cup tomato paste ¾ cup water Let’s heat things up!  Get your oven on to 400 degrees.  If you have baking stones, set them on the lowest oven rack so they get screaming hot.  If not, prep a baking sheet with a piece of parchment or lightly oiled foil. Put lentils into food processor and pulse until they become coarse flour.  Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined into a slightly chunky dough/paste.  You will need to scrape the sides of the processor at least once to ensure that no bits of veg are left unblitzed.  Give a tiny taste and adjust seasoning if you need to. I use my ice cream scooper to get even scoops of batter.  Drop them on your prepared sheet or baking stone and flatten slightly to about a 3 inch diameter and ¼ inch thick.  They won’t spread, so you can get them a bit close, but it’s best to leave some room so you can flip them.  Bake for 10 minutes and then lower heat to 350, flip them and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve on your favorite gluten free bun or on a bed of greens.

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Protein Packed Burritos

Even if you’re not going to eat all 14 burritos at one mealtime, make them all… you’ll love the convenience factor later in the week or even later in the month!  These make a great quick lunch and great after school snacks.  I can fit 1 burrito into a snack size ziplock bag.  They are easy to mark and super quick to reheat in either the microwave or oven. * If you're using lettuce as your wrapper of choice and you want to freeze leftovers, just freeze the filling in 1/3 cup portions.  Warm the portion and then spoon it onto your fresh lettuce leaf when ready to eat.  Lettuce won't hold up to freezing.  Spelt wraps hold up fairly well, if you can tolerate spelt.  Rice wraps can get crumbly, so my suggestion is to add a bit of water to the filling before you set it in the wrapper and freeze it.  The extra moisture will help during the thaw.  If your rice wrapper looses it's composure during the process, just top it with some enchilada sauce and eat with a fork and knife!  There is nothing tragic about that! Protein Packed Burritos (14 servings, 2 hours hands-off bean cooking, 15 minutes assembly) 1 lb dry pinto beans 1 onion, minced 1 clove garlic, minced 8 cups water + 4 cup water 2 Tbsp smoked paprika 1 tsp salt 1 tsp pepper ½ tsp chipotle powder 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups water 14 tortilla style wrappers of your choice or large romaine lettuce leaves vegan cheese shreds, optional (I used Daiya pepper jack) Put the beans into a colander and rinse them under running water.  Give the colander a shake and dump the beans into a large pot.  Cover with water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.  Shut off the heat after the boil and let the beans rest for an hour.  Come back, drain the beans and put them back in the pot.  Add the 8 cups of water you’ve measured out and set the temp for medium high so the pot comes up to a simmer.  Cover and leave the pot for an hour. In the meantime, mince your onion and garlic and sauté them over low heat until fragrant and translucent, but not browned.  Turn off the heat and leave these until the beans are ready. Also, set the quinoa and water into a small pan and bring to a boil.  Stir and cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid is gone and quinoa is fluffy. The beans are ready when they are tender and most of the cooking liquid has been absorbed.  When you reach that point, usually around the hour mark, transfer your beans in batches to the pan with the onion and garlic.  Take a potato masher and go to town on the warm beans.  We are looking for a pretty smooth texture, though some partial beans are nice.  Continue adding your warm beans in batches and smashing them until you’ve worked through the beans. Season and taste.  Adjust to suit your palate. Stir in the cooked quinoa and taste.  Adjust seasoning again if necessary. Take 1/3 cup portions and place on your wrapper.  Add vegan cheese shreds if you like, fold bottom edge over the filling, turn in the right and left sides to make an envelope and then roll to close. Plate and eat!    

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Vegan Brown Rice “Risotto” and Greens

I confess, I used to love cheese.  Back in the day, I enjoyed more than my share of pizza and I admit to having an affair with feta one summer.  Risotto was something that was easy to make and scrumptious to eat because it satisfied both vegetarian and non alike.  But that was then!  Cheese really hurts me now and anything that hurts just isn't worth having.  While I don't miss the cheese, I do love things with a creamy texture and that hint of salty goodness that pairs well with a great glass of wine and some fresh bitter greens.  I toyed around with a few different rices and quinoa (quinoa is a great high protein sub for brown rice in this dish, BTW, though you have to adjust the liquid way down), and my kids like the brown rice the best both for the slightly chewy bite and the nutty flavor. What's nice is that this pan of delight, when dished up and on the table is about $1 a serving when you have the greens fresh from the garden and tomatoes a plenty!  The indulgence is the Daiya, which at nearly $5.50 for 2 cups, is only a sometimes treat on my menu.  If you haven't tried Daiya yet I recommend it.  It is the first vegan cheese I've had that melts well and stretches and doesn't taste like glue!  The Daiya cheddar is versatile and adds that bit of cheesy umph that some dishes need. Great 1 cup add-in's per your palate: diced mushroons, peas, asparagus, red pepper, artichoke, minced kale, spinach Leftover risotto can be shaped into patties or croquettes, coated in gluten free breadcrumbs (or panko if you're not GF) and baked in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until crisp.  Truly lovely served with artichoke hearts and raw baby spinach.  Consider this a two-fer!  Enjoy! (and let me know what you think if you try it!) [caption id="attachment_408" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Vegan Brown Rice Risotto"]Vegan Brown Rice Risotto[/caption] Vegan Brown Rice “Risotto” (40 min, serves 4-6 as entrée w/salad) 2 cups brown rice 1 cup dry white wine 6 cups vegetable broth 1 onion, minced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp olive oil 1 cup Daiya Cheddar shredded vegan “cheese” ½ cup almond milk pepper, to taste 2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced ¼ cup fresh sage or basil, minced Heat your olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the onion and garlic.  Stir to coat with the oil and let them work over medium low heat for a few minutes.  You will smell them and they will become soft without browning. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat it with the oil, onion and garlic.  Turn the heat up to medium high and pour in the white wine.  Cook until the wine evaporates, then add 2 cups of broth.  Stir well and leave the pan for a few minutes.  You will be stirring frequently to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom or burn.  However, this is not as labor intensive as traditional risotto because it doesn’t require constant stirring.  Plan on adding 2 cups of broth, stirring and checking the pan several times before the next broth addition.  You don’t want the rice to do dry in between additions of broth, so watch your pan and add the 2nd dose of broth while the rice is a bit saucy.  I checked the pan every 8-10 minutes and that was perfect, but you will need to get a handle on your stovetop to know what is the perfect balance for you. Add the 3rd and final dose of broth along with the daiya cheese and stir well to combine.  The cheese will make the sauce very creamy.  Daiya contains enough salt that you will not need to add additional salt. After 10 minutes or so, check the texture of the rice by tasting a bite.  If it is cooked, you can stir in the almond milk and shut off the heat.  If it is not, continue cooking for a few more minutes, check it again and then proceed with the almond milk. Season with pepper and serve topped with the tomato and herbs. *To make this a great meal serve this alongside a salad of fresh greens.  I especially love arugula and endive with this because they have such a bright bite to them! [caption id="attachment_409" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Arugula, Escarole, Endive, Basil and Tomato"]Arugula, Escarole, Endive, Basil and Tomato[/caption]

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Coconut Mocha Smoothie

I love a good smoothie in the morning.  There's nothing better than knowing that I am starting the day with a healthy nutrient rich sip.  My boys generally have some smoothie with me as well, so I know that they are getting at least one serving of fruit and veg right out of the gate! Using Tropical Traditions large coconut flakes, I find this smoothie to be really nice.  If you want to intensify the coconut flavor and you have access to fresh coconut, try subbing fresh coconut meat for the flakes.  Want to go over the top?  Sub coconut milk for the water.  You will increase the fat content in a big way, but if coconut flavor is what you need, it's okay to go for it from time to time.  According to recent science, the fat in coconut oil has considerable health benefits.  As with all fats, moderation is key. Wondering how this smoothie tastes?  Surprisingly, with all that spinach, you might expect it to taste "green", but it doesn't.  The cocoa and coconut flavor is dominant and the blueberry provides an undertone.  I like using the berries because of their antioxidant punch.  I make another version of this smoothie minus the berries, but that one feels more like a guilty pleasure than a nutritious start to the day! [caption id="attachment_404" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Coconut Mocha Smoothie"]Coconut Mocha Smoothie[/caption] Coconut Mocha Smoothie (serves 2, yields 4.5 cups) 1 cup frozen blueberries 1 cup water 4 cups raw baby spinach  3 Tbsp cocoa powder ¼ cup large coconut flakes or fresh coconut meat 1 tsp powdered stevia or 1/2 dropper liquid stevia Blend everything in the Vitamix until smooth.  Serve.     Here's a peek at my lunch today.  Fresh romaine, arugula, kale, escarole and endive + fresh berries and apricot, leftover roasted red pepper and BBQ tofu that I cubed + a luscious dollop of white bean hummus.  A nutritious salad doesn't have to be greens and tomato and traditional veg.  Use what you have.  Use what you love... and you can't go wrong!  (The highlight of this bowl for me were the amazingly sweet peppers that I roasted last night paired with bites of kale and berries.): [caption id="attachment_405" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Salad with berries, apricot, roasted pepper, BBQ Tofu and white bean hummus"][/caption]

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Beets, Berries and BBQ

There's been a lot of crimson goodness in my kitchen today and every bit of it's been amazing.  Started the day with a gorgeous beet berry smoothie.  If you've never used raw beets in a smoothie before, don't be afraid... they are sweet and pair really well with berries and citrus.  Try 1/2 of a beet per serving if you're okay with beets in general.  If you're not a beet fan, start with 1/4 of a beet and work your way up!  It's hard not to love a vegetable that is so richly colored. Dinner was a tasty BBQ tofu served over fresh garden greens with yellow and red roasted beets, red pepper and tomato.  My favorite bites included morsels of peppery baby arugula and the sweet and tangy BBQ tofu.  Nice. [caption id="attachment_400" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Beet Blueberry Kale Smoothie"]Beet Blueberry Kale Smoothie[/caption] Beet Blueberry Kale Smoothie (serves 1) ½ red beet, raw 1 cup water ¼ lb dinosaur kale, about 6 leaves 1 cup frozen blueberries Blend everything in the Vitamix until smooth.  Serve.     Barbeque Sauce Recipe ~1 minute prep, 30 minutes simmering~ (Makes about 3 cups) 1 onion 4 cloves garlic 1 bottle Annies organic ketchup 1 ½ cups water 1/2 cup maple syrup 2 Tbsp smoked paprika 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley 2 Tbsp Braggs Amino Acid or Gluten Free Tamari 2 Tbsp lemon juice 1 teaspoon liquid smoke 2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses 1 pint fresh raspberries Put all ingredients in Vitamix and blend on low for 30 seconds, then blitz for 1 minute.  Pour into saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. [caption id="attachment_399" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="BBQ Tofu"]BBQ Tofu[/caption]   BBQ Tofu ~about 30 minutes~ (yields 6 pieces which is usually 3 servings) 1 block of extra firm organic tofu, water packed 1 cup BBQ sauce of your choice   Drain the tofu.  If you have time, wrap the tofu in a clean linen towel and set it on a drying rack that you’ve got in a sheet pan.  Put a heavy saucepan on top of the wrapped tofu and let it press the block for 30 minutes.  This setup lets the liquid drip through the drying rack while the sheet pan catches the liquid so there’s no mess.  The longer you press and drain the tofu, the more firm and chewy the final texture will be. Take your drained tofu and set it on it’s side lengthwise.  Slice the block into 3 slabs then cut the slabs in half so you have 6 nice palm sized pieces. Get your grill pan or grill nice and hot.  Oil it lightly.  Brush one side of the tofu pieces with BBQ sauce and put that side down on the grill.  While it’s down, brush the side that’s up.  Leave the tofu to grill for 5-6 minutes on the first side, then flip it and grill it 5-6 minutes on the other side.  Baste the up side and flip the tofu, turning it ¼ turn so you get a checkerboard grill mark.  Grill for another 5-6 minutes, again basting the up side.  Flip for the last time, ¼ turning again and grill for 5-6 minutes.  Baste the top one last time before serving.  

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It's all in a day...

It's been a tasty day here.  Unfortunately, my 8 year old had a rough night of tummy trouble after having some dairy products at school yesterday and so was home taking it easy.  I needed to keep things fresh, mild and mostly raw for him since his stomach was tender.  Easy to do.  Nourishing and light for the rest of us.  Hope you enjoy the 2 smoothies, soup, spring rolls and sorbet that I made today. I made this smoothie for my 8 year old and his tender tummy: Creamy Banana Coconut Smoothie (serves 1) 1 banana ½ cup coconut milk ½ cup almond milk 1 Tbsp chia seeds 1 Tbsp lucuma powder, optional Blend everything in the Vitamix until smooth.  Serve. ************************************************** This one was for me and my 5 year old: Creamy Chocolate Cherry Goji Berry Smoothie Creamy Chocolate Cherry Goji Berry Smoothie (serves 2) 3 bananas 1 cup almond milk 1 Tbsp cocoa powder 2 Tbsp chia seeds 1 tsp vanilla powder 1 cup frozen cherries ½ soaked goji berries 3 cups raw baby spinach Blend everything in the Vitamix until smooth.  Serve. ************************************************** Lunch was a mild miso soup:Miso Happy Kale Soup Miso Happy Kale Soup (Serves 4) ~ 15 minutes ~ With miso in your fridge you can have a richly flavorful, light soup in minutes.  White miso is very mild and my kids love it.  Millet miso is a bit heartier.  Choose a miso paste that you love and you can’t go wrong… 1 onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 carrot, thinly sliced 1 cup torn kale 4 cups water 3 Tbsp miso paste Put all ingredients except the miso into a small pot and get things simmering.  Let the pot go for 10 minutes then shut off the heat and stir in the miso paste.  Make sure you stir until the paste works into the soup so no one gets a clump of salty miso.  Serve with a salad of mixed greens, thinly sliced cucumber and a splash of rice vinegar.  ************************************************** Dinner took a little time to prep tonight, but it worked out because my guys were needing a bit of cuddle time.  While the tofu marinated I had quality time with my family.  Doesn't get better than that.  One note about the tofu is that it is a bit salty because of the Braggs in the marinade, but it works with the sweet raw veggies and bite of chili and garlicky goodness in the dipping sauce.  My 8 year old chose not to use the dipping sauce because of the chilis.  I added a slice of avocado to his spring roll to cut the saltiness and give his recovering system some healthy fat. Spring Rolls with Curried Tofu (Serves 4 as a main dish with salad) ~ ready in about 1 hour and 30 minutes, including time to marinate tofu ~ Spring Rolls with Curried TofuThis is a light and tasty meal for a warm evening.  If you don’t have time to make your own curried tofu you can purchase a flavored baked tofu instead.  Using purchased tofu will save you more than an hour in the kitchen, so if you’re short on time, it’s a decent option.  Alternatively, prep the tofu a day or more in advance.  Doing this will allow you to pull out the cold tofu, put the veg into the wraps and be good to go in a matter of minutes. Curried Tofu: 1 block extra firm tofu, sliced into 3 slabs and then each slab into 3 pieces 3 cloves garlic, minced 5 Tbsp Braggs 1 Tbsp sesame oil 2 Tbsp curry powder Wraps: lettuces or greens of your choice thai basil cucumber carrot avocado (optional) rice paper wrappers Dipping Sauce: 2 garlic cloves, finely minced 1 thai chili 1/2 lime, squeezed 1 medool date, pitted 1 teaspoon rice vinegar 1/4 cup braggs or tamari 1/4 cup water Let’s start by prepping the marinade for the tofu since the tofu needs to sit a while to absorb some gorgeous flavors.  In a large ziplock bag, combine 3 cloves of minced garlic, the Braggs, sesame oil and curry powder.  I use Spice Island hot curry powder which contains chilies… so our curried tofu sucks in a big kick of spicy flavor.  Use your favorite and adjust the spice level to suit your taste.   Give the bag a little squish to combine the ingredients then place your tofu slices into the bag, seal it and set it in the fridge for about an hour or up to a day.  The longer the tofu sits, the more marinade it will absorb. While the tofu is marinating, prep the dipping sauce.  The longer this mixture sits, the better the flavor becomes, so it’s a natural next step.  I like to pound the garlic, chili and date in my mortar and pestle to get a paste.  You can mince these ingredients super fine and then work them into a paste on your cutting board using the back of a large spoon if you don’t have a mortar and pestle.  Combine all of the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl and let them marry while we wait for the tofu. When the tofu is done marinating take it out of the fridge.  Pull out your skillet and give it a spray or swirl of cooking oil, get that hot and place the tofu slices right on in.  This should take no more than 3 minutes per side to get a nice golden color on the tofu.  The curry powder helps things a lot as well because of the beautiful golden turmeric.  Flip the slices and let the other side crisp up.  Now remove the slices to clean paper towel so we can drain off any excess oil and let the slices cool at the same time. Once the tofu has cooled we can assemble to wraps.  This step is really quick if you have your ingredients ready.  I often let my kids assemble theirs because it’s easy and fun and kids are more likely to eat something that they’ve made themselves! I set out a 9x13 glass baking pan with about ½ inch of warm water in it.  Next to this I lay out a clean linen dish towel that I’ve wet and wrung out so it’s just damp.  Slide one rice paper wrapper into the warm water and let it soak for about 5 seconds before removing it carefully and laying it on the damp towel.  Layer some lettuce, cucumber slices and shredded carrot, then top with a slice of cooled curried tofu and a sprig of thai basil.  Bring the bottom edge up over the filling, fold in the sides like you would a burrito, then roll her up!  Move on to the next one and continue until you are out of tofu or until you’ve made as many spring rolls as you’d like.  The curried tofu makes an excellent sandwich filling and is also great diced up and tossed on salad greens.  So, if you are making only one or two spring rolls tonight, don’t worry about the leftover tofu!   Heck, invite me over and let’s have lunch! Serve with the bowl of dipping sauce, some fresh veg, and a light salad for a complete meal.  Serve them on their own for a light lunch or snack. ************************************************** Our cool and refreshing dessert. Creamy Pineapple Sorbet Creamy Pineapple Sorbet (Serves 4) 2 ripe bananas 4 cups frozen pineapple (1 lb bag from your freezer section) ¼ cup coconut milk shaved coconut for garnish, optional fresh raspberries, optional Put everything in the Vitamix, other high powered blender or your food processor and blend until smooth.  The advantage of using the vitamix is that you can use the tamper to push the fruit into the blades for a super quick blend.  I’m done with this guy in 30 seconds using the Vitamix.  If you’re using another appliance, you may need to stop and stir to get chunks of the fruit to blend.  If the mix gets too soft after blending just pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm it up before serving. Top with shaved coconut and raspberries and serve!

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Quick Chickpea Portobello Ragout

Quick Chickpea Portobello Ragout (Serves 4 as a main dish with salad or 8 as an app) ~ ready in about 15 minutes ~ Quick Chickpea Portobello Ragout Warm or cold, this ragout is scrumptious.  My 5 year old requested that I make this for dinner every night from now on! LOL!  What I love it that this comes together in a flash with a rich flavor that works just as well on top of greens as it does over polenta.  Chill it down and you’ve got a great topper for bruschetta using your GF bread of choice or try chilled polenta squares or even cucumber cups! Leftovers make a good vegan wrap filling because the sauce gets thicker as it chills.  YUM, yum and yum… You can go with some pantry shortcuts if needed --- sub canned or boxed fire roasted tomatoes and canned chickpeas for fresh.  If you make these subs, omit the salt until you can give everything a taste so you don’t end up with an overly salty dish. 3 jumbo Portobello caps, diced, about 2 cups 1 onion, diced, about 1 cup 4 cloves garlic, minced 3 small zucchini, diced, about 2 cups pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper ½ cup dry white wine 3 gorgeous tomatoes, diced, about 2 cups 2 cups cooked chickpeas 1 Tbsp veg broth powder + 2 cups water or 2 cups veg broth 2 Tbsp tapioca starch + ¼ cup cold water 4 -6 cups raw baby spinach or kale  Grab your wooden spoon and get ready for some quick work! Toss your mushrooms, onion, garlic and zucchini into a hot sauté pan and stir, stir, stir!  We’re not using any oil in this recipe, so we need to rely on the heat to draw some liquid out of the zucchini pretty quickly.  As things start to sear, throw in a pinch of salt to coax the liquid out of the veg and keep stirring until that garlic is fragrant.  We’re about 5 minutes in at this point and I need you to pour in the wine and deglaze the pan by using the edge of a wooden spoon to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Add your tomatoes, chickpeas and broth/broth powder + water.  Stir to combine.  Cover and let this simmer for 8 minutes.  While the ragout is simmering pull out your bowls and divide the greens among them.  If you’re using kale, tear it into bite size pieces so it’s easy to eat with the veg.  Reluctant to try kale?  Before putting it into the bowls, give the torn pieces a really thorough massage with about a tsp of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a clove of crushed garlic.  Something magical happens to kale when you give it a good rub.  I can’t guarantee you’ll love it right out of the gate, but I can say that this preparation got me eating more kale in the beginning!  Maybe it will work for you too. Let’s get back to business… Uncover the ragout and bump up the heat a bit.  Pour in the tapioca starch slurry and stir.  The heat will get the sauce bubbling and things will thicken up quickly.  If your ragout gets too stiff, add ½ cup of water and stir to loosen it up.  Otherwise, turn off the heat and you’re set to plate.   Scoop 1 cup portions on top of the greens you’ve already plated.  You’re good to go!

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creativecalligraphy

Quick quinoa dinner + Peachberry Sorbet

After T-Ball tonight I needed to pull together dinner quickly.  I tossed 1 cup of quinoa into a pan with 2 cups of water and some broth powder.  Set that guy, covered, over a medium flame and let it boil for 10 minutes, then shut the heat off and let the steam finish it off to fluffy perfection.  While the quinoa was working I smashed 4 cloves of garlic, cut up about a pound of broccoli florets, trimmed up a pound of snap peas and thinly slice 2 carrots. [caption id="attachment_384" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Quinoa with Saucy Veg"]Quinoa with Saucy Veg[/caption] The veg hit a hot saute pan with 1/2 cup of veg broth.  Covered that guy too and let them steam.  In the downtime I mixed 1/4 cup of Bragg's aminos, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/3 cup mirin, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp chili paste and 2 Tbsp tapioca flour.  After the veggies steamed for 10 minutes I threw in the sauce mixture and stirred until things thickened up. Within 15 minutes of starting I had fluffy quinoa topped with saucy steamed veg on plates and on the table.  Quick, easy and nutritious. Desserts in our home are often fruit based, as I'm sure you've caught on by now.  I do enjoy baking, but dessert creations are usually made up on the spot if the kids are still craving somthing for their bellies or their sweet tooth!  Whole fruits are so easy to freeze in sliced portions that there is really no reason why I can't whip up a refreshing, whole food dessert in about 3 minutes flat. Tonight I made a quick sorbet using some of our favorite flavors. Peachberry Sorbet (Serves 4-6 )
[caption id="attachment_383" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Peachberry Sorbet"]Peachberry Sorbet[/caption] 1 lb frozen sliced peaches 1 cup frozen raspberries 1 banana, fresh 1/2 cup soaked goji berries + their liquid (about 1/4 cup berries, 1/4 cup liquid)* - optional 2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
*We need to start by soaking the goji berries if we're going to use them.  I usually have a batch of goji berries soaking in the fridge.  Goji's come dried like raisins.  I buy raw, sun dried gojis and rehydrate them in double the amount of water to the amount of berries.  I just throw them into a container and cover them with water and set them in the fridge overnight.  They plump up beautifully and can be eaten alone, with your favorite yogurt, tossed into your smoothies or my favorite... in a cup of green tea.  Goji berries are sweet, red gems that have a unique flavor.  They remind me of cranberry and raisins at the same time.  Interesting and unusual, but intensely good for you because of their high levels of antioxidants. Once we've got nice plump goji's we can proceed.  If your goji's aren't ready or you don't have any, you're still good to go without them.  No worries! Put everything in the Vitamix or food processor.  Process on medium speed while using the tamper to continually push down the bits of fruit into the blade.  Keep going until everything is blended.  If you're not using the goji berries and their liquid, you will need to add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of another liquid.  Good choices are water, orange juice or pear nectar.  You may have to stop and stir the mix because we're working with a good amount of fruit here and very little liquid.  When everything is blended and smooth serve it up quickly or spoon it into a freezer safe container and store it for an hour or so before serving.  If you are going to freeze this longer than and hour you will need to let it soften on the counter for 20 minutes before you try to scoop it and serve it.

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creativecalligraphy

Creamy Banana Pudding (Raw, GF & vegan)

While I love my green smoothies in the morning, I do like to change things up from time to time.  This is something that I whipped up when we were vacationing in England and I've now figured out that by blitzing it in the Vitamix I can get quite a creamy consistency.  Whether you use just a fork or go for the appliance, you will end up with something yummy.  It reminds me of yogurt and pudding and is as versatile as both of those little wonders.  You can top this pud with fresh berries and/or granola.  Sprinkle on some flax seeds and you'll totally be a super star. Adjust the sweetness as you see fit.  I prefer to use lucuma powder  here when I want the sweet flavor because it is a very mild earthy sweetness and it's raw.   Like any sweetener, lucuma adds calories but has the benefit of being a minimally processed whole food rather than an overprocessed, chemically treated product like white sugar.  Maple syrup is a good substitute if you really need the sweetness.  I challenge you to try this with less sweetener than you think you need (or none at all!)  Bananas are beautifully sweet and really shine if you let them. Creamy Banana Chia Pudding (Serves 1 adult or 2 children) This recipe can be doubled easily.  My suggestion is to use 2 bananas per adult, 1 per child.  Only add ½ tsp increments of sweetener for each additional portion if you are using a sweetener.   [caption id="attachment_380" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Creamy Banana Chia Pudding"]Creamy Banana Chia Pudding[/caption] 2 ripe bananas 2 Tbsp chia seeds 1 tsp lucuma powder or maple syrup (optional) ½ cup almond milk or other alternative milk There are a few ways to prepare this pudding depending on the equipment you have.  The manual way to tackle this is to grab a wide bowl and a fork.  Put your peeled bananas into the bowl and give them a thorough mashing.  If you like things chunkier, leave them chunkier.  If not, keep mashing until the bananas make a paste.  Top with chia and lucuma and mix those in.  Add the almond milk and stir until everything is combined.  Now leave the bowl alone for a few minutes while the chia swells and absorbs the almond milk. If you have a Vitamix, blender or food processor you can put everything in and blend for a few seconds until you get a smooth puree.  Transfer the puree to a bowl and let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes while the chia works it’s magic. If you want a smooth pudding and have a coffee or spice grinder you can mill the chia seeds into a powder before adding them to the manually mashed banana.  Still leaves you with an appliance to clean, but it’s not as messy as using a blender, etc. Top with granola and fresh berries for a great breakfast or quick snack.  

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