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Sarah Lawrence

Seasonal Salad Dressings

If you're anything like me you won't be able to pass up the incredible bounty of tree ripened fruits that are available at this time of year.  In New England, apples and peaches are plentiful.  Weekend apple picking means a week full of applicious eating.  I've been dicing my red beauties and adding them to salads, oatmeal, smoothies, muffins... and salad dressing.  Flavoring with whole foods is an adventure because moisture content/juiciness varies as well as sweetness/tartness.  So, I can guarantee that your dressing won't taste just like mine... but it will taste great and recipes like this one give you license to play with your food!  You need to taste and adjust and experiment.  The dressings I'm sharing today showcase the beauty of whole food dressings.  You'll get nutrients and healthy fats from the nuts and avocado, so additional oils aren't necessary -- the dressing will come together in a beautifully emulsified and creamy way. Dress salad greens and veggies or change it up and dress a cabbage slaw mixed with apples and serve over naked greens.  Top with a sprinkling of pecans or walnuts and a tsp of chia seeds per serving for that boost of calcium.  [caption id="attachment_484" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Harvest Salad with Apple Dijon Dressing"]Apple Dijon Dressing[/caption] Apple Dijon Dressing (yield 1+ cup, depending on size of your apple) 1 macintosh apple or other tart apple ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard ½ cup avocado 2 cloves garlic 1 Tbsp ginger, fresh 4 brazil nuts, optional 1 medool date, optional Combine all ingredients in Vitamix, other blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.   If your apple is quite tart and you need to balance the dressing, adjust the flavor by adding a date and blending again.  The brazil nuts add a hint of creaminess and a ton of selenium, but don’t really effect the flavor.  Use them if you have them for that nutrient boost.   Spicy Peach Dressing [caption id="attachment_485" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Apple Celery Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with Spicy Peach Dressing over romaine"][/caption] (yield 1+ cup, depending on size of your peach) 1 ripe peach, cut in half, pit removed ¼ cup apple cider vinegar ½ cup raw cashews 2 cloves garlic 2 Tbsp ginger, fresh 1 tsp Bragg’s Amino’s sriarcha, to taste, optional Combine all ingredients in Vitamix, other blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.  Add ¼ cup of water, if necessary, to loosen the consistency of the dressing.  Everything depends on the juiciness of the peach, so if the dressing is too thick just add that water and blend again.  Spice up the dressing with sriarcha… I reserve a portion of dressing to toss with greens for my boys and then liven up the remaining dressing by starting with 1 tsp of sriarcha.  If you’re not feeding kids or if you prefer things spicier, start with 1 tsp and taste, then adjust if you want more heat.

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Sarah Lawrence

Apple Walnut Muffins (gluten-dairy-egg free)

Apple season is upon us and the bushel of apples on my kitchen counter are calling to me to use them!  These apples are so beautiful that you can shine them up on your pant leg and sink your teeth right in for an oh-so-sweet-crisp-tangy-amazing bite and be at one with the apple bliss.  That's a given.  But, so are these... Cinnamon apples, apple chips, apple slices, apple granola, apple smoothies, apple sorbet, apple butter, apple pie, apple cake.... and, ah, apple muffins! I make mini muffins more than full size muffins not only because they're cuter, but because they are easier to pack in lunch boxes, easier to freeze and just the right size to have with a cup of tea.  Check out the alternative fruit and nut combinations and have fun making muffins with or for your loved ones!  Know that you're getting whole grains and healthy fats in these little gems. Apple Walnut Muffins [caption id="attachment_478" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Apple Walnut Mini Muffins"]Apple Walnut Mini Muffins[/caption] (yield 24 mini or 12 regular muffins) Flour blend: ½ cup sorghum flour ½ cup quinoa or millet flour ½ cup amaranth flour ½ cup arrowroot flour 1 tsp xanthan gum ½ tsp salt 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp gluten free vanilla powder (or add 2 tsp gluten free vanilla liquid extract to the liquid mix) Liquid blend: ½ cup rice syrup or 3 medool dates, softened in ½ cup water and blended until smooth or ½ cup maple syrup 1 Tbsp chia seed ¼ cup hot water ¼ cup coconut oil 1 ripe banana, mashed 1 tsp apple cider vinegar Fruit/nut mix*: 1 ½ cups apple, small diced ¾ cup walnuts, chopped *other fruit/nut combos to try are pear/almond, banana/pecan, peach/cashew.  Substitute these fruits for the apple at the 1 ½ cup portion, however, for great results make sure to choose very firm, almost under-ripe fruits since these are all juicier or more liquid forming than apples.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line the muffin pan of your choice with paper liners.
  • Combine the flour blend in a mixing bowl.
  • Combine the chia and hot water in a small bowl and set aside until the chia absorbs the water.
  • Combine the chia gel with the remaining ingredients for the liquid blend in another mixing bowl.  Make sure that the banana is very well washed and everything is quite a smooth liquid.   If you aren’t partial to the nubby bite that chia adds to baked goods, you can blend the liquid mixture in a Vitamix or other blender until the chia is smooth.
  • Pour the liquid blend into the flour and stir well to combine.  Fold in the diced apples and nuts.
  • Scoop tablespoon size portions into mini muffin cups or ¼ cup portions into regular muffin cups. 
  • Bake the mini’s for 12 minutes or until golden; bake regular muffins for 18-20 minutes.
  • Check the done-ness of one muffin by inserting a wooden tooth pick into the center and pulling it out.  If there is a goo on the stick, you need to bake for a few minutes longer.
  • Remove the muffins from the oven and transfer them from the tin to a cooling rack.  Gluten free baked goods have a tendency to be more moist than glutenous baked goods, so allowing these muffins to cool and get great air flow underneath the papers will help ensure bottoms that aren’t soggy.
  • Serve or freeze (freeze on a baking sheet and then transfer the frozen muffins to a zip lock or freezer safe container).

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Sarah Lawrence

Ingredient Adventure: Black Chickpeas

I love trying new ingredients.  This bag of Black Chickpeas has been in my pantry for a little over a month now and I decided that tonight was their opening night in our kitchen!  Most of the recipes I've seen that use black chickpeas describe them as a snack or side dish and use them in a spiced sauce with some gamey meat.  Instead of using these little nuggets in their traditional supporting role, I've used them as the star.  This meal was rounded out with a gorgeous saute of ripped kale, seasoned with a sprinkle of salt and pepper as well as a scoop of steamed quinoa.  I also created a Gingered Coconut Almond Cream to top the Chickpeas, just because... I love ginger and I love a creamy sauce that I can dip into or swirl into a dish.  About 1 Tbsp topped each serving of Chickpeas. The Family Verdict: My 9 year old enjoyed the meal; the 5 year old mixed everything together and ate all but a few bites; my sweet husband left some of the kale and noted that because the black chickpeas look like black beans he expected them to be softer.  I cooked the chickpeas just past al dente, but it would be really easy to cook them a bit more to soften them. Notes: the Black Chickpea soaks and cooks the same as a tan chickpea, though this variety seems much smaller than tan chickpeas.  The taste is also very similar if not the same as the tan variety.  My next 2 experiments will be dry roasting them and trying a Black Chickpea hummus. [caption id="attachment_475" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Black Chickpeas with Kale and Quinoa"]black chickpeas in Spiced Tomato Sauce[/caption] Black Chickpeas in Spiced Tomato Sauce (yields 6-8 servings) Adapted from this Chana-chanp recipe 2 cups dry Black Chickpeas, soaked 1 tsp coconut oil 1 lb Onion, chopped 1 cup coconut milk + 2 Tbsp lemon juice 1 lb Tomato, crushed 1 Tbsp cumin powder 1 tsp turmeric powder 3 Tbsp Garlic, chopped 2 Tbsp Ginger, chopped 1 Tbsp chili powder or a generous squeeze of Sriracha, optional handful fresh Cilantro, chopped Salt, to taste Prep: Rinse the chickpeas in cool water to clean them.  Soak the chickpeas over night; drain. Heat oil in a pan and fry the onions until soft.  Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, ginger, garlic, turmeric powder and cumin and boil until chickpeas are soft, about 45 minutes.  Once the chickpeas are cooked, turn off the heat and add the coconut milk/lemon juice mixture.  Taste.  Season with chili powder or sriracha as desired.  If you are serving children, you may want to reserve a portion before seasoning with the hot pepper options. Top with minced cilantro and serve.   Ripped Kale 1 bunch of kale, ripped or chopped into small pieces 1 tsp coconut oil Heat coconut oil in a wok or saute pan and add the kale.  Saute over high heat for 3-4 minutes until the kale is vibrant green and wilted.  Season with a hint of salt and pepper if desired.   Gingered Coconut Almond Cream (yields 1 1/3 cup) 1 cup coconut milk 1 cup raw almonds 1 tsp ground ginger or 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger Combine all ingredients in the Vitamix or other high powered blender.  Blend until very smooth.  The flavor or the cream intensifies the longer it sits.  Fresh ginger yields a stronger flavor faster.

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creativecalligraphy

Hearty Oat Breakfasts: fiber rich and good for Fall

The cool night air is spilling over into our mornings; soon it will be hanging on to our daytimes... Fall is here!  Put away your tee-shirts and release those comfy sweaters from their hibernation. While we enjoy gluten free oats year-round because they are a great fiber rich, whole grain gluten free option, we especially enjoy them in Fall and Winter for their warming properties.  I love preparing oatmeal for my children as a nutritious breakfast.  On days like today when our oldest goes straight from school to gymnastics, it gives me great joy to power him up in the morning with one of these oat meals.  Adding quinoa to our oats is a simple way to ensure that we are protein rich and ready to face the day!  Quinoa is a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus.  The fiber in these recipes is also impressive... through my personal tally based on the dry weight of our starting ingredients, the Apple Oat Meal contains about 9 grams of fiber per serving(5 from the oats, 3 from the quinoa, 1 from the apple).  9 grams is about 1/3 the RDA for most people.  Not bad for a bowl of oatmeal! The American Heart Association guidelines for daily fiber intake vary by age.  To give you an idea of what you need and what your children need, check out these numbers:  Gender/Age Fiber (grams) 1–3 years (19 grams) 4–8 years (25 grams) 9–13 years: Female: (26 grams); Male: (31 grams) 14–18 years: Female: (29 grams); Male: (38 grams) 19-50 years: Female: (29 grams); Male: (38 grams) 50+: Female: (30 grams); Males: (30 grams)  The recipes I share with your today use seasonal fruits with oats and quinoa.  One recipe starts with leftover, cooked, unseasoned quinoa and the other starts with raw quinoa and cooks the seed along with the oats.  Both take about 15 minutes from start to finish, so you can easily get this nutritious breakfast on the table even on a busy morning! Enjoy! Harvest Apple Oat Meal Harvest Apple Oat Meal (makes 4 servings) 2 cup gluten free oats 4 cups water ½ cup organic raisins 1 cup cooked quinoa maple syrup, optional Apple Cream 1 organic apple, quartered or chopped ½ cup raw cashews, soaked if necessary Place oats, raisins and water into a pot. Cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure that the oats don’t burn and everything cooks evenly. To make the apple cream, place nuts and apple in your Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy. If you are working with a regular blender, soak the cashews in ½ cup water for an hour before blending and chop the apples before adding them to the blender. You may need to add more water to get a creamy consistency if you use this method, but it is equally yummy (it just takes some prep time.) Stir the cooked quinoa into the oats and spoon into your serving bowls. Drizzle with maple syrup if desired and top with a dollop of the apple cashew cream.   Peaches and Cream Quinoats (makes 3-4 servings) ½ cup quinoa, rinsed 1 cup gluten free oats 3 ripe peaches, diced 3 cups water Cashew Cream 1 cup raw cashews 1 ½ cups water 2 medool dates, pit removed Place grains, water and half of the diced peaches into a pot. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure that the grains don’t burn and everything cooks evenly. To make the cream, place nuts, water and dates in your Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy. If you are working with a regular blender, soak the cashews and dates in the water for an hour before blending. You may need to add more water to get a creamy consistency if you use this method, but it is equally yummy (it just takes some prep time.) Spoon grains into your serving bowls and top with the cashew cream. Enjoy!

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creativecalligraphy

A Duo of Quick and Tasty Salad

Salad and greens are the mainstay of my daily diet.  What's phenomenal about greens are their versatility.  The variety of flavors that you can grow in a window box or sprouter is equally impressive.  So, while some might think "boring" when they think salad, I think of the possibilities and the freedom! I made this for lunch today and used about ¼ of the beautiful green papaya that I bought at Lanni Market.  To feed more than one person just double or triple the recipe.  It’s quick, easy and full of flavor!  I love Som Tum, the Thai Green papaya Salad and while it’s not difficult to make according to traditional recipes which include fresh chilies, palm sugar and fish sauce, I love my speedy vegan version that uses local ingredients from my pantry.  Jicama can be substituted for the green papaya if you can’t get your hands on one.  And if you really want to keep it local, try using a produce item from your area that is crisp and mild.  I’ve used local apples and slightly under-ripe green melon with nice results.   The kelp granules give that hint of the sea flavor that fish sauce imparts in traditional Som Tum recipes.  Not critical, but it is nice and adds a sprinkle of nutrients and iodine as well. [caption id="attachment_457" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Quick Green Papaya Salad"]Quick Green Papaya Salad[/caption] Quick Green Papaya Salad 1 cup green papaya, thinly sliced (as thin as you can make it!) 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced 1 medium sized tomato, about ¾ cup sliced 1 small knob ginger, grated, about 1 tsp grated ginger 1 tsp maple syrup 1 tsp braggs aminos ½ tsp kelp granules (optional) ¼ - ½ tsp chipotle chili powder Put all ingredients into a bowl and use your fingers to combine everything well.  Eat! *************************** Our dinner salad was an experiment in balance.  The garlic ginger dressing was sweet and spicy.  The romaine was sweet and crisp; blueberries, tart; tomatoes, creamy; cucumber, crunchy and green; plums, lusciously sweet and creamy.  Next time, I would add a bitter green to the bowl... a handful of arugula or watercress would be perfect!   Ginger Garlic Dressing (yields 1 + cup of dressing) 2 cloves garlic 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root, grated 1/4 cup sesame oil 1/3 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar 1/3 cup mirin 1/4 cup Bragg’s aminos or soy sauce 2 Tbsp rice syrup (or 1 Tbsp honey if you prefer) 1/4 cup water, optional Mash the garlic using your mortar and pestle or mince very finely.  Combine with remaining ingredients and thin with water if you like.  [caption id="attachment_458" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Balanced Salad"]Balanced Salad[/caption] Balanced Salad (makes 4 entree servings, 2 adult and 2 kid portions) 2 romaine hearts, chopped 1 cup kale, stemmed and chopped (about 4 leaves) handful of arugula, watercress or dandelion greens 1 cup blueberries 2-3 local tomatoes, quartered 1 local cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and sliced 4 local black plums, quartered Make sure your hands are washed before you start prepping your salad, because you're going to use them! Cut the greens into bite sized pieces to make them more appealing and easier for kids to eat.  Toss all ingredients into a large bowl.  Ladle 1/3- 1/2 cup of dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly with your hands.  Rubbing the dressing into the greens will coat them beautifully.  Pay particular attention to the kale bits... rubbing them tenderizes them a little... it's magical!

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creativecalligraphy

Easy Coconut Curry

My health coach, Tammi, gave me a challenge for this month... and I am not one to forego a challenge, so, this month I am experimenting with Macrobiotics.  Being introduced to macrobiotics this month has been really timely.  Traditionally a balancing and restorative way of approaching food and life, this philosophy has been a gift to me as I've been working to get my 5 year old through a particularly intense bout of croup and the respiratory ickies that follow.  The ease of cooking a huge pot of brown rice and using it as the base for our meals is making up for the lack of my beloved nightshade veggies.  I have a handful of recipes to post from the week, but this one was on our table last night.  I think it's macrobiotic... even if it's not 100% in keeping with the tradition, it was inspired by it and was tasty.   Easy Coconut Curry 1 knob of fresh ginger (about 2 tablespoons) 3 cloves garlic 1 onion, quartered 1 stalk fresh lemongrass (optional – see my note below) 14 oz can of coconut milk* 1 cup water 2 tbsp curry powder (use your favorite, we like Frontier Herbs) 3 cups cooked garbanzo beans 2 cups cauliflower, broken into small pieces 1 russet potato, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups cups) Put ginger, garlic, onion, lemongrass and coconut milk into your food processor or Vitamix blender.  Process until smooth.  (Note: I thought I processed my mixture well enough, but found strings of lemongrass in the finished curry.  They were not problematic, but it looked abit strange and might make people worry that they’re eating a piece of, gulp, hair.  So, my suggestion is to really blitz the mixture and then strain it if you aren’t sure that the lemongrass is incorporated.  Alternatively, chunk the lemon grass into large pieces and you can infuse the coconut milk with it in the next step and then fish the pieces out before serving.) Pour the spiced coconut milk into a large sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add the water, beans and vegetables and cook until the potato is soft, about 15 minutes. Serve with brown rice or quinoa and a nice salad. [caption id="attachment_451" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Easy Coconut Curry"]Easy Coconut Curry[/caption] *Homemade Coconut Milk is easy and is my preference, but not everyone has coconut in the pantry.   If you do, try this! 1 cup coconut flakes 2 cups  water Put everything in your Vitamix and blend on high speed for 3 minutes until the mixture is creamy.  Strain through cheesecloth or a nutmilk bag if you are drinking the coconut milk.  For this recipe, just use the coconut milk right from the blender! This video from tropical traditions will show you how to do it, though they use slightly different proportions than I do and they strain twice.  I love Tropical Traditions organic coconut flakes and they are the only brand I use!

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