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Sarah Lawrence

Sarah's Salted Coconut Caramel Sauce

Leaves are fallen and the smell of November is in the air.  Pumpkins are on doorsteps, in pies and crockpots, and flavoring lattes.  And the allure of the creamy, toffee colored, buttery, salted caramel has been teasing me… There are salted caramel chocolates and salted caramel lattes and salted caramel toppings and none of them are for me! Ah, such is the way of the “Free Birds” – the dairy free, the gluten free – the you-know-who-you-are-free-like-me’s!  So, this one is for you (and for me!)!  I give you Sarah's Salted Coconut Caramel Sauce ~ Now, I remember the buttery flavor of caramel from my former life and I can tell you that this culinary creation suits my memories while satisfying my need to be free.  Try it out and let me know what you think… I’ve spooned it over sliced banana, had a dollop on a piece of vegan chocolate, drizzled it over chocolate coconut milk ice cream and licked the spoon every time!   Salted Coconut Caramel (dairy free, gluten free, nut free, vegan) 1 cup thick coconut cream (the top layer in canned coconut milk or ½ cup Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate mixed with ½ cup water) 1 cup coconut milk 1 cup medool dates, pitted 1 Tbsp vanilla powder 1 Tbsp Earth Balance, buttery spread (optional) Coarse Sea Salt or Salt Flakes for sprinkling
  • Soak the pitted dates in the coconut milk until they are soft.  Soaking times will vary depending on the freshness of your dates.  This step is really important if your blender isn’t a Vitamix or Blendtec or able to really pulverize the dates.  We want the caramel sauce to be creamy, so soft dates help ensure that regardless of your blender!
  • Once softened, place dates, coconut cream, coconut milk and vanilla powder in your Vitamix or high speed blender.  Start on low speed, then work up to the highest and leave it there until the mixture looks creamy and all of the dates are incorporated.  No flecks!
  • Turn off the blender and use a spoon to fetch a taste.  If you’re wanting something with a more buttery flavor, try adding the Earth Balance and go back to blending until everything is really smooth.
  • This sauce is pourable right from the blender.  You can thin it with more coconut milk if you prefer a thinner consistency.  To thicken it up for dipping or spreading, transfer the sauce to a nice bowl and cool it in the fridge for an hour.
  • For the salted caramel experience, put a dollop of the caramel sauce on your favorite fruit, pie, pudding, hot chocolate or latte and then sprinkle with your finishing salt.
Perfectly free to be you and me… buttery, toffee tasting, creamy, salted you and me!  Enjoy!

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Sarah Lawrence

Easy Anytime Cookies

So, here’s a confession… I don’t buy food “treats” for my family often.  And, I’ve been told by my 10 year old that he needs more than fruits and veggies some days.  So, I’m stepping up my game and getting back into the healthy treat mentality.  I thought I had successfully won my people over on the whole foods 100% of the time, but what works for me isn’t working for them.  While I’m not conceding and running out to buy Ho-Ho’s and RingDings and neon orange cheese puffs, I feel good bringing homemade, lovingly made, whole food snacks back into the picture on a more regular basis.  What’s more… I am SO incredibly proud of my son for being able to iterate his needs.  He is a gorgeous example of doing what it takes to know what his body needs.  These cookies are quick to mix together, easy to freeze and slice off what you need and totally customizable to your tastes.  Easy, Anytime... easy anytime cookies. You can thank my boy for these… try them and let me know what you think!   [caption id="attachment_673" align="alignleft" width="640"]Easy Anytime Cookies Easy Anytime Cookies[/caption]   Easy Anytime Cookies 1 1/2 cups almond meal 1 cup brown rice flour or 1/2 cup brown rice flour + 1/2 cup quinoa or amaranth flour ½ cup potato starch (optional, but improves texture) 1 Tbsp vanilla powder (I use Authentic Foods) ¾ cup peanut butter 3 ripe bananas (if you prefer less banana flavor use green bananas) 1 cup mini chips (Enjoy Life vegan chips are great) or nuts or raisins or other dried fruit ** add in a Tablespoon of flax meal, chia seeds or hemp seeds for some omega 3 goodness!   Combine all ingredients except chips/add in's in your mixer bowl.  Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed until combined.  Then add in chips or nuts/fruit and mix gently to incorporate. Tip the dough onto a clean board and shape into a log.  Slice off the number of cookies you want to bake.  Wrap the remaining dough in parchment, plastic wrap or in a zip loc bag and freeze until ready to use. Place the dough slices on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.  The smaller your cookies, the less time they will need to cook. Frozen cookies will bake in about 15-18 minutes.

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Sarah Lawrence

Spanakopita in a SNAP! (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nutrient Dense)

On busy school nights, quick dinners are helpful.  This comes together in a flash and is full of flavor.  My cheat is using frozen organic cut leaf spinach.  It is loose in a bag rather than a frozen block so it thaws in about 2 minutes in the pan rather than 15!  You can absolutely use fresh greens, fresh onion and garlic if you have the time; using fresh vs. dried and frozen adds about 20 minutes onto the cook time. Want raw?  No problem!  I make a raw Spanakopita Salad using the same recipe and fresh raw ingredients.  Beacuse I find raw onions difficult on the stomach, I choose sweet vidalia onions when I can get them or red onions. While I love raw food and am about 90% raw, it just so happens it's a cool New England night and something warm feels good to me!  Without further ado, here you go... (try it for yourself and let me know how yours turns out!) Quick Vegan Spanakopita Sarah's Spanakopita 2 lbs frozen organic cut leaf spinach or fresh, minced 1 lb frozen kale or fresh, minced 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, minced 2 Tbsp dried garlic or 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced 2 Tbsp dried onion flakes or 1/2 onion, minced 1 cup hot water Combine ingredients in a cast iron skillet and cook over medium heat until the spinach is thawed, the mix is fragrant and most of the liquid is gone. While the spinach is cooking, grab your blender or food processor and whiz this up: 1 cup raw unsalted cashews 1/2 cup nutritional yeast 2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar 1 tsp dried oregano 1 Tbsp dried dill 1 tsp dried garlic powder 1 tsp salt This quick nut cheese is nothing like feta's salty briny flavor, but it is tangy and has great flavor. To plate, spoon out about 1 cup of the spinach mixture and top it a spoonful of the nut cheese and a good sprinkle of sesame seeds. Enjoy with white beans(go for canned if you don't have home cooked ones in your fridge) dressed with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of tarragon or oregano and add a cup of berries for a sweet, fiber-rich and nutrient dense meal that has all your essentials -- Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds A refreshing drink with this meal is Cucumber water --- if you have a juicer, go ahead and juice a few big cukes, then add to a pitcher of water with a sprig of mint and a slice of lemon.  If you don't have a juice, slice a cucumber and put it into a pitcher of water with the mint and lemon.  Mild, fresh and good for you! My question of the day:  (Talk to me!  I love reading your comments!) What are your favorite tips and tricks for making quick, nutrient dense, meals?

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Sarah Lawrence

Quick and easy

The theme for me on this crisp Fall day was "quick and easy." Breakfast was cucumber, kale, apple and ginger juice. 3 minutes, alive and an easy way to open the day. image Lunch was a bowl full of baby greens topped with warm miso broth, carrots, mushrooms, and scallions.  Made this bowl brilliant by adding a twirl of pickled ginger.  Using warm broth is one way to stay high raw without giving up the comfort of warm foods. image Dinner was leftover miso soup. Felt like a sweet treat so I ran with some ChocolateCoveredKatie inspiration and whipped together a banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter and a few drops of liquid stevia in the vitamix until smooth. Topped the fluffy mousse with a sprinkle of coconut and a bit of raw cacao powder. (CCK made her concoction in a big batch, froze it and used it as a pie filling... definitely an idea for a day when I've got the time to pre-plan!) image Spent maybe 15 minutes prepping/cooking today.  Eating well doesn't have to take a lot of work. What are your favorite quick meals?

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Sarah Lawrence

What's been nourishing me

It's late August and the past couple of weeks have been full of family fun... it's the time of year when everyone knows that Summer vacation is coming to an end and those long days get shorter and the days turn to hours and to minutes and then in a blink, here we are at the night before school starts again! In the moment I have before I hit the sack, I just want to write about nourishment.  So often, I get caught up in food... what we have, what to make, what I'm hungry for, what will give us the best bang for the buck, what my kids will eat... and while food is incredibly important, what we do between the chews is as important because it is in those regular, crazy, bubbly, sprinkler fun, belly laugh making, boo-boo kissing, day dreaming, bill paying, hand holding, sneak-off-to-the-hammock-in-peace, phone calling, car driving, shower singing, on-you-knees-praying, wine sipping, puddle jumping, stop-to-smell-the-roses, juicy miracle moments that we are truly nourished.  I don't know about you, but in those moments, I am reminded of what I have and what I don't, what my burdens are and what they're not... where I am incredibly blessed and where I am challenged to find opportunity... who I am lucky enough to be loved by and who I am lucky enough to love. Here are a few photos of what's been nourishing me this month.  What's been your sustenance lately? [caption id="attachment_660" align="alignleft" width="640"]Cape Cod sunset Cape Cod Sunset[/caption] [caption id="attachment_659" align="alignleft" width="640"]Peace and Love Stopping to smell the roses @ Fuller Gardens[/caption] [caption id="attachment_658" align="alignleft" width="640"]Arugula, frisee, mache and green tomato in miso maple vinegrette with Brown rice, stir fried veg and pickled ginger Arugula, frisee, mache and green tomato in miso maple vinegrette with Brown rice, stir fried veg and pickled ginger[/caption] [caption id="attachment_657" align="alignleft" width="640"]Mache with Blackberries, Tarragon marinated mushrooms, roasted asparagus, heriloom tomatoes and chunky hummus with basil Mache with Blackberries, Tarragon marinated mushrooms, roasted asparagus, heriloom tomatoes and chunky hummus with basil[/caption]

 


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Sarah Lawrence

Blueberry Pie, Oh My!

With a few pounds of beautiful blueberries left from our first haul of the season, it was high time to make a great blueberry dessert.  What I love about blueberries is that they are such nutrition powerhouses yet they taste fabulous too.  My kids gobbled their servings while I got the satisfaction of knowing that they got a hefty dose of healthy, whole food based fiber, omega 3’s, protein, good fats, vitamin K, Vitamin C, manganese, Anthocyanins and a host of other impressive phytonutients.     And even though my little people know that the things we eat we eat with health in mind, things like this blueberry pie still feel and taste like a treat.  This recipe yields 4-6 servings, is quick to prepare and easy to assemble.  Kid rating was 4 enthusiastic thumbs up.  Drop me a comment and let me know what YOU think!  Image Raw Blueberry Pie Crust: ½ cup cashews or almonds 4 medool dates, pitted ½ cup coconut flakes In Vitamix or food processor, pulse these ingredients until they form a coarse meal. Transfer to a small bowl if making individual servings, or press mixture into bottom of an 8x8 inch pan. Filling: ¼ cup chia seeds 4 cups blueberries (divided, 2 cup + 2 cups) Stevia – 10 drops of liquid stevia or ¼ tsp stevia powder Using Vitamix or other blender, blend chia, 2 cups of berries and stevia until smooth. Add 2 cups of blueberries.  Stir to combine. If you’re making individual portions, start with 1 Tbsp of the crust mixture.  Pat that down on the bottom of your plate or bowl.  Top it with a few spoons of the blueberry mixture and then sprinkle a bit of the crust mix on top. If you’re making a pan, spread the berry mixture over the crust that you pressed into the 8x8 pan earlier. Either way, let everything set up for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator before serving. Note: the blueberry mixture will turn an earthy blue when exposed to the air, so try to work quickly if the darker blue doesn’t appeal to you!

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Sarah Lawrence

The Low Down on Protein

As a plant based eater one of the things I hear all the time is “How do you get your protein?”  With high protein dietary approaches in the marketplace, I also see a huge emphasis on protein --- protein shakes and bars especially.  Since protein is a nutrition buzzword, let’s take a look at it.  In a few minutes you will understand why protein is important for good health, how much you need and where you can get quality protein. What is Protein? Protein is an essential nutrient, which means that without it, you can’t survive. Protein is contained in every part of your body: bones, muscles, skin, hair, fingernails, blood, organs, eyes.  Protein is second in volume in the body only to water.  So, if you get the picture, it’s pretty critical. Why do I need Protein? It’s simple, but critical; the body requires protein in the same way it requires carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.  Because protein is a major component in bones, nerves and other organs it makes sense that we need protein for the physical structure of our body.  However, protein is involved in many body processes as well -- enzyme production, cellular repair, cellular growth, hormone production, general energy requirements.  When we lack adequate protein, our growth is affected as well as our bone structure and bone density, muscle strength and stature, brain health and general body chemistry.  This is important stuff, so let me fill you in on the science and then we’ll talk about how to get enough protein for optimal health. Understanding Protein Protein is made up of amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids; 10 can be manufactured in the body and 10 cannot. The ones that can’t be made by the body are called “Essential” aminos because it is essential that we get these from food sources. The University of Arizona's Biology Project gives the following summary: "The 10 amino acids that we can produce are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine. Tyrosine is produced from phenylalanine, so if the diet is deficient in phenylalanine, tyrosine will be required as well. The essential amino acids (that we cannot produce internally) are arginine (required for the young, but not for adults), histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. These amino acids are required in the diet.
Plants, of course, must be able to make all the amino acids. Humans, on the other hand, do not have all the the enzymes required for the biosynthesis of all of the amino acids." The failure to obtain enough of even 1 of the 10 essential amino acids has serious health implications and can result in degradation of the body's proteins. Muscle and other protein structures may be dismantled to obtain the one amino acid that is needed. "Unlike fat and starch, the human body does not store excess amino acids for later use the amino acids must be in the food every day."(Biology Project)
So, we can make certain aminos and not others.  The ones we can’t make MUST be consumed on a daily basis from dietary sources or the body WILL BREAK DOWN its own protein sources to get what it needs.  This is one reason why people can lose muscle when on very restrictive diets or when they are sick and cannot eat.  The body breaks down muscle to get the supply of aminos needed for critical functioning. Now, you may have heard the term “Complete Protein.” Complete proteins are proteins that are made from the 10 Essential Aminos (the ones that your body cannot make on its own.)  Complete proteins are most commonly found in animal foods, like meats, eggs and fish, but there are plant sources too.  We will get to sources in just a minute but it’s good to know that you have options and a variety of sources. The main take away from this lesson is that Amino Acids are the building block of proteins.  There are 10 aminos that we absolutely need to get from foods.  Aminos are crucial to the regulation and maintenance of the body because the body not only uses them for critical functions but is also structurally comprised of protein. How Much Protein do I Need? Now that we’ve covered what protein is, what it does and we understand a bit about it, let’s cover how much protein we need.  The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein is calculated by age and weight; gender can be a factor during the teen years and during pregnancy and lactation. Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) based on body weight, include age-related adjustments for the extra protein needed for growth (USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine) For adults, the basic calculation for daily protein requirement in grams is Body weight in pounds x .36 = grams of protein needed per day  Got Super Powers?  You know who I’m talking about… all the pregnant ladies, breastfeeding moms and athletes?  Well, then the numbers adjust!  People who call upon their bodies to do Super things require approximately double the amount of protein that the rest of us do.  The great thing is that caloric needs increase for these bodies as well.  Focusing on eating a variety of whole foods will ensure that you get the increased calories as well as fats, carbs and proteins.  When we get down to the sample menu, you'll see how very easy it is to get to the increased protein numbers as calories increase. How can I get enough Protein? This is the big money question!  Thankfully, it’s easy to answer and really simple. Regardless of whether you eat meat or don’t, getting enough protein usually isn’t an issue.  The issue becomes the quality of the protein and making sure that you don’t get TOO MUCH.  Meat eaters typically consume SIGNIFICANTLY more protein than is required.  Even vegans can consume more than enough protein daily.  What’s the problem with too much protein?  Well, there are a couple of things.  The first is that excess protein puts a strain on your kidneys.  The second is that if more protein is consumed than the body needs for building, maintaining and repairing tissue it will either be converted for use as an immediate energy source if there is not enough glucose(from carbohydrates) or it will be stored as fat.  We don’t want either of those things; we want balance!  When looking at dietary approaches like Atkins and Paleo, consider what the extra protein load can do in your body and whether a protein heavy approach feels right.   For balance, the key is to choose your protein sources wisely.  Clean, lean proteins are best.  Plant based proteins provide the added benefits of significant fiber, micronutrients and complex carbohydrates (all of which are necessary for overall balanced health). What are the best sources of protein? The most common sources of complete protein, as mentioned earlier, are animal foods like meat, fish, eggs and dairy.  The issue with these sources is that they come with a cholesterol load as well as any environmental toxins that the animal consumed --- so things like hormones, pesticides, systemic illness suffered by the animal all become a factor.  Most plant proteins are missing one or more of the essential amino acids.  However, when you combine with other plants and grains means that where one item is deficient another will have the missing piece, so eating a variety throughout the day will ensure that you get them all.  There are a few superstars in the plant world that are complete proteins: Quinoa and Soy.  While these superstars are great in combination with other foods, they can stand on their own as a source of the 10 essential amino acids. Here is a sample daily menu that easily provides 82 grams of protein.  Protein values are approximate, but you will get the idea.
What to Eat Grams of Protein Added Benefits
Green juice    or smoothie 2+ grams   protein Lots of   micronutrients
1 cup quinoa   + 1 Tbsp nuts 13 grams   protein Manganese,   magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, omega 3 fatty acids, healthy fats
Apple or   Celery   + almond   butter 8 grams   protein (1 gram from apple or celery, 7 from nut butter) Flavanoids,   polyphenols and fiber to help regulate blood sugar, pectin, vitamin C, micronutrients//vitamin   K and calcium, B vitamins in celery; healthy fats, vitamin E, B2, magnesium,   potassium, copper
Salad with   ½ cup black   beans, ¼ cup hemp seeds 19 grams   protein (1 from 2 cups of romaine and spinach greens, 7 from beans, 11 from hemp) Vitamins   A, K, C, Calcium, fiber, healthy fats, omega 3, folate, molybdenum
Veggies +   ¼ cup hummus 12 grams   protein Micronutrients,   fiber
Broccoli   stir fry + 4 oz tempeh   + ½ cup brown   rice 28 grams   protein (6 from 2 cups broccoli, 20 g in 4 oz tempeh, 2.5 g in 1/2 cup brown rice) Isothiocynates   (cancer fighting compound), Calcium, vitamin C, K, A, fiber, zinc, probiotics
As you can see, it’s not hard to rack up the protein using plant sources.  If you choose to use animal proteins, know that a little goes a long way:
What to Eat Grams of Protein Added Benefits
1 cup   milk 8 grams   protein calcium
3 oz   meat 21 grams   protein  
8 oz yogurt 11 grams   protein Calcium,   probiotics
The Bottom Line You can easily get enough protein by consuming a variety of real whole foods in the form of fruits, vegetables.  Not 100% veg?  Lean meats, dairy and fish are all sources of complete protein but they are concentrated and present added cholesterol into the diet as well as the possibilities of contamination from ingested hormones and antibiotics. Commercially hyped protein powders, shakes, and bars… likely won’t hurt you, but also likely won’t help you.  If you are very active or need an occasional meal replacement consider a product that is as close to whole food as possible and one that does not contain genetically modified soy. Ultimately, eating a balanced diet full of greens, beans, fruits and veggies is a healthy way to go because you will be fueling your body with nutrient dense, low calorie, high fiber foods that are rich in amino acids.  According to nutrition and health expert, Dr. Joel Fuhrman in his groundbreaking book Eat to Live, "almost any assortment of plant foods contain about 30-40 grams of protein per 1,000 calories.  When you caloric needs are met, your protein needs are met automatically.  Focus on eating healthy, natural foods; forget about trying to get enough protein."  Eat well, eat real, eat a variety of rainbow colored natural foods... Whatever you choose, choose smart for a healthy body.
 
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Sarah Lawrence

Eating Something Beautiful

The summer garden is a phenomenal source of inspiration.  Besides the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, zukes, cukes, squash and herbs are a few major beauties that you might not consider putting on your plate. If you haven’t tried them already or didn’t know you could, I’d like to introduce you to the common daylily.  The plant I’m talking about is the one that grows in great clumps by rambling New England stone walls.  It’s the one that has clusters of creamy orange blooms atop tall stems.  We’re not talking Easter Lily or any other lily variety --- some are quite toxic.  If you’re not sure about the plant growing in your garden or in the wild, DON’T eat it.  But if you you’re your stuff and you want to try something new, read on!  Daylily flower buds and blooms are edible raw and are also lovely steamed or sautéed.  To prep them requires a check check for bugs, a pinch and a turn to remove the cluster of stamens/pistols from the center of the blossom and a moments pause to take in their beauty before you devour them!  Now, the stems and tubers are also edible, but we’re going to save those for another day because I’m not digging up these pretties while they’re putting on such a great show!  Honestly, I don't want you to go digging up your daylilies right now either... let them live... they won't mind you pinching a few buds and blossoms.  I think it's quite a tribute to their single day showcase to enjoy the beauty of the bloom and them use it to nourish your body. Much like squash blossoms, daylily blossoms kind of beg to be stuffed.  So whether you spoon a dollop of something sweet or savory into the center of the blossom and eat it like a popper, you won't be disappointed.  Talk about a stunning nibble for a party!  Now if you're not into the totally ladylike feat it takes to eat a popper you can opt for a fork friendly option by removing the petals and peppering a salad with the tender bites or take your cues from the Asian origins of the Daylily by steaming or sautéing the buds.  One thing is for sure:  You will elevate your meal by using this simple, stunning, surprisingly flavorful flower.  I really hope you'll post a note for me if you try these or are inspired by the idea!   Daylily Poppers [caption id="attachment_598" align="alignleft" width="300"]filled daylilies filled daylilies[/caption] Fresh picked daylily flowers, stamens removed 1 cup corn ½ cup cashews 3 stevia leaves or 1 date ¼ cup lemon juice ½ cup blueberries (optional add in) Put corn, cashews, stevia leaves, lemon juice and berries into Vitamix and blitz until smooth.  You can make the corn base first, remove a bit of that and then blend in the blueberries for a 2nd flavor profile.   Spoon about 1 tsp of the mixture into the cleaned hollow of the flower.  Top with a fresh berry. [caption id="attachment_599" align="alignright" width="300"]Daylily Poppers Daylily Poppers[/caption] To eat, fold the petals up like you’re closing a purse and pop the bite right in your mouth.  These are a beautiful appetizer or dessert.  The filling possibilities are just about endless.  Think about a no bake cheesecake filling, or a lemon mousse… instead of going the sweet route with the stevia, omit it and add ½ cup of chopped scallions or dill for a great onion cream cheese mixture.  Peppery mock tuna salad makes a lovely bite as well.    This light, colorful salad is an amazing way to nourish the body.  The basil and oregano really make the dish come alive.  All garden fresh or grown in the yard, takes about 1 minute to put together and it’s just vibrantly yum… in my book, it doesn’t get much better than this! Colorful Daylily SaladColorful Daylily Salad 1 or 2 kale leaves, minced a few leaves of basil, minced sprig oregano, leaves plucked off stem 2 daylilies, petals minced 2 small yellow cucumbers, diced 1 cup blueberries Toss all ingredients together and serve.

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Sarah Lawrence

No Bake Brownie Bites

[caption id="attachment_593" align="alignleft" width="300"]No bake brownie Bites No bake brownie Bites[/caption] It is a hot one in New England today.  Scorchers like today just don’t make me want to bake, but I’ve been itching to try a black bean brownie recipe that my friend Kerri created.  With the humidity though, not even a battalion of flying monkeys was going to make me turn on the oven!  So, a little blitzing with a batch of black beans and a few yummy raw staples and a nifty, no bake, nut free brownie bite was born.  My favorite bite was one I rolled with a few dried blueberries.  If you like an earthy flavor, go for the buckwheat.  Otherwise, try the GF oat flour for a mild canvas and a great bite of heart healthy oat fiber.  *nut free, gluten free, dairy free No Bake Brownie Bites 1 cup oat flour (choose gluten free if you need it) or 1 cup raw sprouted buckwheat flour * or a combination of both flours -- buckwheat is earthy, oat is neutral 12 medool dates, pitted, about 1 cup 1-2 droppers of liquid stevia or a few more dates to taste ¼-½ cup cacao powder 1 ½ cups black beans, unseasoned (drained and rinsed if from a can) ¼ cup water ¼ cup coconut oil Add ins of your choice – see end of recipe In your food processor, pulse the pitted dates a few times until they start to break down and get like a paste.  Add the black beans and process until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until you get a ball of dough.  You may need to add a bit more water or coconut oil depending on the moisture content of your beans and dates.  The consistency we’re going for is something like a stiff cookie dough or play dough. I like to line my small stone baking pan (8x6 or 8x8) with parchment paper, tip out the dough and press it firmly into the corners and then flat on the pan.  Fold the parchment over the mixture and refrigerate it so it firms up a bit more. Cut into ½ inch pieces.  Now you can get creative… you can roll the pieces into balls like truffles and swirl them around in cocoa or cacao powder, cinnamon, coconut, chopped nuts, matcha powder, powdered berries.  You can mix in dried fruit; dried blueberries and chopped dried cherries are my favorite.  You can leave the bites as squares and drizzle with chocolate sauce or spread with a thin layer of ganache.  Bottom line is that these are slightly sweet, fiber rich, heart healthy bites. *To make sprouted buckwheat flour start with raw buckwheat groats.  Soak them for about 2 hours, then rinse and drain.  Let the soaked groats sit in a sprouting bag or a glass container (lightly covered with a clean cloth) overnight.  Rinse the groats after 24 hours.  If they are sprouting, great… if not, let them sit another night.  Once the groats have nice sprout tails you can either set them on a baking sheet and let them dry before grinding them to flour or you can pop them in a dehydrator.  If you have a dehydrator, you’ll know what to do with it.  Otherwise, rinse the sprouts gently and drain them, then lay them on a baking sheet and let them dry out overnight.  You may need to stir them or flip them to help them dry evenly.  I used about 1 ½ cups of sprouted buckwheat groats to get my 1 cup of flour.  A clean coffee/spice grinder makes quick work of this job, but a food processor will work too. BONUS: My Daily Green --Red Cabbage, grapefruit and ginger Salad
  • thinly sliced red cabbage with grapefruit, pickled ginger and a splash of rice wine vinegar
  • a few handfuls of seasonal greens

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Sarah Lawrence

Fresh and Fabulous in 4 Minutes

Fresh, Fabulous Food in a Flash!  Start to finish on this meal is 4 minutes.  If you have a little extra time to let the mushrooms marinate, all the better… but you can SO do this in a pinch.  No excuses!  Need a fast, fresh and nutritious meal?  I invite you to give this a try! Mushrooms are like superheroes of nutrition.  Studies have shown that even 1 ordinary button mushroom a day can cut your risk of breast cancer by 64%!  SIXTY-FOUR percent!  Couple that mushroom with daily consumption of green tea and you increase the cancer fighting power to between 82% (post-menopausal) and 89% (pre-menopausal).  I say, let MUSHROOM MANIA begin tonight!    Raw marinated mushrooms are an amazing treat.  My first experience with them was trying Mimi Kirk’s recipe for Shitake Skewers in “Live Raw.”  Something magical happens when you marinate.  I think it’s the same magic that we dip into when we rub kale because rubbed, marinated kale is the thing that legends are made of!  In any case, marinating doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes, but if you have 30 minutes to let them sit they do become more flavorful and tender.     Everything you eat should contribute to your health.  Instead of fast food meals that make you feel gross and contribute to disease, choosing nutrient dense, plant strong fast food can do nothing but figure into the future of your health.  Here’s the lowdown on the other nutrient superstars in this meal: Cashews – rich in copper, magnesium, and phosphorus; support heart and bone health Hempseeds – rich in protein and omega 3 fatty acids. Onion – anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, heart protective Cabbage – cholesterol lowering and cancer preventative Cucumber – anti-inflammatory, heart protective, rich in anti-oxidants Meals like this one come together in a flash in my kitchen.  Here’s how I do it:

1.       Grab glass pie plate and assemble marinade; pour, grate, stir.

2.      Toss pre-sliced mushrooms into the marinade; set aside or start warming.

3.      Slice cabbage/lettuce/bok choy and cucumber; drizzle all with vinegar 

4.      Blitz all ingredients for onion sauce in the Vitamix; 15 seconds and done! 

Gingered Mushrooms with Creamy Onion Sauce, Vinegary Purple Slaw and Cucumbers -- serve with Iced Green Tea and Fresh Berries for Dessert [caption id="attachment_588" align="alignright" width="300"]Raw Veg Bowl Raw Veg Bowl[/caption] Gingered Mushrooms – 4 or 5 servings 3 large Crimini/portobello mushroom caps or 3 cups mushrooms, cleaned and sliced ¼ cup nama shoyu or tamari 1 tsp coconut oil ½ tsp liquid stevia or 1 dried stevia leaf, ground 1 Tbsp grated ginger from a big knob of fresh ginger Mix all ingredients except for mushrooms in a shallow dish that is large enough to hold all the mushrooms.  Once the marinade is combined, toss the mushrooms to coat.  You may need to rub them and turn them quite a bit, but rest assured, there will be enough marinade.  Set the mushrooms into a dehydrator set at 105 for 30 minutes.  If you don’t have a dehydrator, simply boil a pot of water (the pot needs to be small enough to be able to support the mushroom dish without the dish falling into the water); take the pot off the heat and set the mushroom dish on top.  The residual heat from the water will gently warm the mushrooms and encourage them to release quite a bit of liquid.  Once warmed, turn the mushrooms in their own liquid and serve.  Alternatively, just set the mushrooms aside for a few minutes while you slice and prep the remaining bits of the meal.  Creamy Onion Sauce 1 cup water ½ cup cashews ½ cup raw shelled hempseed 2 tsp onion powder salt and pepper to taste Blitz everything in Vitamix or blender until smooth; about 15 seconds. Purple Slaw – per serving ½ cup purple cabbage, sliced thin ½ cup lettuce, bok choy or green cabbage, sliced thin splash of apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar Cucumber – per serving 2 small yellow cucumbers or your favorite variety splash of vinegar Assembly: I plated this meal with each component in its own space in the bowl.  The onion sauce was on the side in a tasting cup, which made dipping delightful.  A few slices of fresh avocado and a heap of sliced pickled ginger garnished the center and made every bite that much more heavenly!

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