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Sarah Lawrence

Simple Detox Recipes ~ because I love you <3

Special Waves and Warm Welcome to all you new Blog followers!  So glad to have you here.  I can't wait to hear from you and get to know you.  Please join me over on Facebook too --- click the link on the right side of this post.  I just can't get enough of all you lovelies!  xoxo ********** So, last week I completed a 10 Day Detox with a great group of people.  I designed the Detox to be gentle by reducing stimulants like caffeine and sugar before cutting them out, then using a clean dietary approach to support the body’s natural detox pathways.  Gotta tell ya… my Detoxers were ROCKSTARS!  Most lost 4 pounds during the 10 days and one SuperStar dropped 7 pounds and was absolutely glowing.  I confess that I feel a bit guilty to have kept the 10 Day Detox on the hush, but I’m ready to share a secret with you --- (you’re truly the first to know!)  --- On March 4th I am launching my next program:  “10 Weeks to a Healthier You!”  Because I work really closely with my clients, I am only opening 15 spots in this exclusive program.  I will be accepting applications from people who are ready to make some healthy habits a reality, so if this is you, be on the lookout for an update with all the deets tomorrow.  I have great bonuses and goodies for all you Early Birds who want to jump right in!  Just think --- you can be on your way to achieving any of your New Year’s weight loss resolutions in time for Mother’s Day!  Build on the momentum of love from Valentine’s Day and give yourself this gift.  Promise I’ll be back tomorrow with more so you can get in on the goodness.  (You’re totally worth it!) Phew!  Now that I’ve let my secret slip, I feel much better!  (Here’s the song in my head --- “I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it…”)  Back to business ~ I meant to post and share the love before Valentine’s Day, but life got busy with classroom parties and lots of valentines to prepare.  I want all of you to feel the love so this post is a host of pics and recipes from the detox.   Simple meals make me happy and keep me healthy and they can do the same for you!  Foods that support detoxification are tasty, colorful and filling, but don’t take my word for it… try it yourself and let me know what you think!   Breakfast = Breaking the Fast Liquid nutrition in the form of smoothies and juices is a fabulous way to FLOOD your cells with nutritional love! Mixed Berry Blast 1 cup frozen mixed berries 1 frozen banana 3 kale leaves, stems removed A big handful or two of baby spinach, washed (go for two cause you're a rockstar!) 1 - 1½ cups almond milk Put everything in the Vitamix or blender and whiz 050until quite smooth. My Beeting Heart Juice 1 large organic beet, scrubbed 1 large organic cucumber 3 kale leaves, stems removed 6 swiss chard leaves, stems removed 3 large carrots, peeled 1 red apple Cut all the veg in pieces that will fit in your juicer.  Juice according to your juicers directions or blend in a Vitamix and strain using a nutmilk bag or several layers of cheesecloth. [caption id="attachment_706" align="alignleft" width="256"]Juice shots for my boys and the pint glass for me! Juice shots for my boys and the pint glass for me![/caption]   043 [caption id="attachment_705" align="alignright" width="300"]Juicy Smiles from my 6 year old! Juicy Smiles from my 6 year old![/caption] Mid-day and Evening Meals Go for 80% raw and 20 % cooked whole foods for your lunch and dinner meals.  Raw foods provide live enzymes and accessible nutrients.  Cooked whole foods provide the comfort of warmth and variety in texture. Simple Salad for 4 8 cups of mixed salad greens (mesculin greens, kale, romaine, spinach, chard, frisee, red or green leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, endive, mustard greens, beet greens, dandelion greens) 4 cup diced veg of your choice (tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, red or green onion, celery, carrot, mushroom, beet) 1 diced avocado 1/4 cup of hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds or sesame seeds ¼ cup chopped cashew, almond or brazil nuts ¼ cup fresh herbs (dill, basil, cilantro, parsley, mix of thyme/oregano, mint) 2 cups mixed fresh fruit (optional, but great for variety) The possibilities with salad are never ending.  I use a variety of greens for lots of color and texture. Family Friendly tips: 
  1. Let you kids choose the veggies and fruits for the salad. 
  2. Once your greens are washed have your kiddos tear the leaves into fork friendly pieces.
  3. Fill it up!  We have a large oval platter that is great for serving salad family style.  How much salad do you need?  It is really easy to judge once you’ve served salad family style a few times because you will be able to eye-ball it based on your experience.  I know that if we fill up the platter with greens, pile on the veg and add the toppings that the whole thing will go… so all I need to say is “Fill it up” and my people can have fun while practicing a healthy habit.
  4. Let your kids serve themselves if they are old enough to manage a fork.  It’s a life skill.  I find that my kids take what they need and it’s usually more than I would have put on their plates. 
  5. Pour on the props!  Praising the kiddos (and any reluctant adults at the table) is a great way to ensure that they will feel good about making healthy choices.  Praise builds confidence, so when they try a new combo, give them credit and ask them how things taste and if they would make the same salad again.
*** Just think, it’s as easy as P-I-E ~ Praise Involve Encourage! [caption id="attachment_704" align="alignleft" width="640"]Simple Salad for 4 Simple Salad for 4[/caption] [caption id="attachment_711" align="alignleft" width="640"]Simple Salad for 4 with Beet Hearts and berries Simple Salad for 4 with Beet Hearts and berries[/caption] Raw Bowl with Beans 1 cup raw mushrooms, sliced 2 cups kale or spinach, stems removed and leaves sliced into strips ¾ cup raw sauerkraut (homemade or one like Bubbies) 1 cup cooked beans of your choice (homemade is great; no sugar if using canned beans) 040 Triple Nut Veg Burger 1 large onion, quartered 2 stalks celery, quartered 1 clove garlic 1/2 cup almonds 1/2 cup cashews 1/2 cup walnuts ½ cup hemp seeds 1 bunch parsley, stems removed 2 slices gluten free, dairy free millet bread or GFV breadcrumbs ¼ cup nutritional yeast 1/2 tsp sea salt ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup lemon juice ½ cup white beans (optional, makes patties a firmer texture) Put onion, celery, garlic, nuts, seeds and parsley into your food processor and pulse until everything is fine but not a paste.  Tear the GFV bread into pieces or add the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and pulse again.  Add lemon juice a little at a time to get the mixture to a consistency that you can shape into patties. Heat a cast iron skillet (or your favorite skillet) and place ½ cup size patties on until one side is golden, then flip.  Serve. An alternative to cooking these bad boys is to shape them and pop them into your dehydrator.  The flavor remains bright and the texture becomes much firmer than what you get in the skillet, even with the bean option.  I like the non bean burger, dehydrated and crumbled into lettuce leaves with salsa for a tasty taco like yum. ***Depending on the size of your veggies you should get at least 6 patties, likely a few more. [caption id="attachment_712" align="alignleft" width="640"]Triple Nut Veg Burger Triple Nut Veg Burger[/caption] Tomato Vegetable Soup  ~ you may want to double this one and freeze half 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 cup chopped red onion ¼ teaspoon sea salt 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup shredded carrot 1 cup chopped celery 1 24-ounce jar diced tomatoes or 2 lbs fresh tomatoes, diced 5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (gluten free) 2 cups cooked white beans, drained and rinsed ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp cayenne, chipotle or smoked paprika (optional) fresh parsley leaves, garnish Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion and sauté for a few minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley just before serving. 026

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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

No Bake Strawberry Crumb Bars (gluten free, dairy free, vegan)

[caption id="attachment_557" align="alignright" width="300" caption="No Bake Strawberry Crumb Bars"]No Bake Strawberry Crumb Bars[/caption] Inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest of some tasty looking Strawberry Crumb Bars, I thought it would be fun to make a gluten free, high raw version for my family.  Basic date-nut bar mixture combined with homemade gluten free granola, topped with strawberries mascerated with chia seeds to help them form a firm raw layer, then topped with crumbs from the bar base.  Quick prep, a little time to chill and we were in dessert bliss.     Want a totally raw version? Omit the granola and increase the nuts to 1 cup. The bars will be thinner, but no less tasty!  No Bake Strawberry Crumb Bars 1 ½ cups pitted medool dates(about ¾ lb) ½ cup raw cashew nuts (see note) 1 cup gluten free granola or ¾ cup gluten free quick cooking oats (Bob’s Red Mill) 1 Tbsp coconut oil ½ of a banana (about ½ cup) 1 cup organic strawberries, greens removed 1 Tbsp chia seeds *Note: pecans, walnuts and macademias should also work, but they have much stronger nut flavor.  I chose cashews for their mild, creamy flavor. Place dates, nuts, granola and coconut oil in your trusty food processor and whiz until everything is uniform in size.  You’ll get something that looks like crumbs. Remove 1 cup of this crumb mixture and set it aside. Add the banana to the mixture remaining in the food processor and pulse a few times until you get a ball of dough.  This is your crumb bar base. Line your pan of choice with a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper.  Put the base mixture into this pan, press it to the edges and flatten it with your fingers to get an even surface.  Doesn’t need to be perfect and you totally get to lick your fingers when you’re done! Put your food processor bowl back onto the base with the blade (you don’t even need to clean it! SCORE!) The strawberries and chia get a turn in the bowl now until you have an almost smooth, but somewhat chunky strawberry mash.  Remove the blade from the bowl and use a spoon or spatula to scrape the sides and all around the bowl to ensure that those gorgeous little chia seeds are incorporated.   Spoon the strawberry chia mixture over the crumb base that you’ve already got in the pan.  Spread it out so it covers that first layer. Now, take the reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle it over the strawberry chia layer.  All that’s left to do is put the whole pan in the fridge and give it a chance to firm up so you can slice it.  I usually give mine an hour or more to chill.  You can leave it overnight and even up to a few days if you’re making a batch in advance of a party or for snacks, etc. To serve, I take the edges of the plastic wrap or parchment and loosen the whole bar.  I wiggle it out of the pan in an air lift fashion and put the slab onto my cutting board where I decide on what size to make my servings.  We like smallish squares or dainty rectanglular pieces, but you can cut into whatever size your heart desires.  You could even go right at the thing with a fork...  It’s all good!  Not quite firm enough to pick up with your fingers.... freeze them if you want something that is finger friendly.  Going the frozen route also limits your serving window to about 30 minutes from the time you plate them.  Otherwise, it's forks all around! No matter which way you make them, Enjoy!

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Sarah Lawrence

Banana Goji Berry Smoothie

Add this guy to your smoothie list… this one tastes like banana while having the antioxidant benefits of the goji, omega 3’s from the flax oil and the killer nutrient punch from the kale.  It’s an earthy orange color and my kids gave it two thumbs up!  Nervous about adding kale or greens to your smoothie?  I was too... but the thing is that you really don't end up tasting them.  In this recipe, you taste the banana and the goji's and the color masks the greens well.  In some of my other recipes, I use blueberries or other berries to make the smoothies more appealing to the eye while also making them taste like fruit.  The BIGGEST ISSUE with adding greens to smoothies is usually the texture.  If you have a vitamix you'll be fine because that thing blends just about anything to a silky smooooooth perfection.  If you're using another blender you may find the texture to be grainy.  If that's the case you can try steaming the greens without any seasoning and then adding the wilted greens to the blender.  Another thing to note is that smoothies are a great way to incorporate your powdered probiotics.  I use a product that has a very high count of beneficial bacteria to manage my autoimmune imbalance.  Even though I use the unflavored version, it doesn't taste good when mixed with just water, so I pour out everyone elses portions of smoothie and then add in my packet, blend and I'm good to go! Looking for other smoothie recipes?  Use the search box on this page and type in “smoothie” or check out my smoothie page.  I am working to update the list.  We start every day with a fruit and vegetable packed smoothie, so I’ve not even typed up a fraction of the ones we’ve made… [caption id="attachment_505" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="This one is a nice earthy orange color"]Banana Goji Berry Smoothie[/caption] Banana Goji Berry Smoothie (serves 3) 3 bananas 2 cups almond milk 2 Tbsp flax oil ½ goji berries 2- 3 cups kale (I just pack the Vitamix with kale and blend) Blend everything in the Vitamix until smooth. Serve.

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Sarah Lawrence

Lemon Goji Smoothie

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Kids developed this smoothie this morning and it was quite a neon shade of orange but tasted of lemon all the way!  A keeper!  They called it "lemon-neon"...

Lemon-neon smoothie
3 carrots
3 small oranges, skin removed
1 organic lemon, skin removed from half
1/2 cup Goji berries
1banana
3 Brazil nuts
2 cups water

Place all ingredients in vitamix.  Blend until smooth.  Taste.  Sweeten with a few drops of liquid stevia if needed.

It was a perfect foil for our omega 3 liquid supplement as well as a hefty dose of probiotics! 

P.s this is my first mobile upload... a bit of a test.  Figure I need to post when its convenient or I may not have time to post!  Fun android phone!


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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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creativecalligraphy

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 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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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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German Cucumber Salad + bonus Vegan Ice Cream!

Cucumber salad is one of the flavors of my youth.  My dad made it often in the summers with cucumbers picked straight from his garden.  He sliced the cucumber paper thin and tossed it with salt, tons of pepper and vinegar for this simple and amazing thing.  And just like I could in those days, this stuff is something that I can consume by the bowlful! Similar to pickle, German cucumber salad is really vinegary.  It differs in that it's really quick and not at all sweet.  The fresh vinegar tang and peppery bite make it versatile enough to pair perfectly with a heavy meal or stand on a sweet bed of greens as the superstar.  My dad made it with onion sometimes, sometimes none at all.  Leeks are milder and more palatable to kids, so they are my choice.  If you're not feeding children, go ahead and sub some crisp and juicy onion for a spicier bite.  My kids also tend to like creamy dressings and since we're dairy free, silken tofu is a great way to go creamy without much effort.  Leave it out if you're soy free.  As an alternative try soaking a few tablespoons of raw cashews in water until they're soft and then blend them with the vinegar for a soy free creamy dressing (if you can tolerate nuts, that is!) Feeding the Family: Tonight I made this salad and used it as a topper for my plate of salad greens.  I am still on my high raw kick so the greens, some veg and the cucumber salad did it for me.  I cooked some corn, but after a bite it was unfortunately obvious that spring corn is just not worth it!  This was our 2nd batch of grainy corn.  Yuck.  For the rest of the family the cucumber salad served as a side salad on their plates. I love that my husband and boys are comfortable eating a high raw, nutrient dense diet.  Their dinner plates had salad greens, tomato, carrot, cucumber salad, saucy navy beans and an ear of corn.  For our family of four, I used 1 heart of romaine, 4 cups of baby spinach, 4 carrots, 2 tomato, 1 English cucumber, 1/4 of a leek and 3 cups of cooked beans.  (I'm not going to count the corn because it was really worthless, unfortunately). How nice it was for me to talk with my kids about my memories of my father making this for me... I hope you'll give this a try and think of me when you do! [caption id="attachment_371" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="German Cucumber Salad"]German Cucumber Salad[/caption] German Cucumber Salad (Serves 2 as a main salad on top of green – 4 as an appetizer or side salad) 1 whole cucumber (I use the long English Cucumbers) 2 Tbsp silken tofu or vegan sour cream 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar ¼ cup thinly sliced leek, approximately 4 inch piece of leek several generous grinds of pepper good pinch of salt 1 tsp dried dill or 1 Tbsp fresh dill, minced Let’s start with the cucumber:  Peel it.  Thinly slice it using a mandolin or sharp knife.  Place the slices in a bowl and season them with salt, pepper and dill.  Leave this to rest while we get on with the dressing. Mash the silken tofu and vinegar together until the tofu is no longer lumpy and you have a smooth dressing.  If you are using vegan sour cream you can just mix it with the vinegar until everything is creamy.   Either way you’ve started, pour your finished dressing over the cucumber. Toss in the thinly sliced leeks and use a spoon to really mix the dressing with all of the slices.   Give it a taste to see if more seasoning is required (I usually add another grind or two of pepper…) Enjoy! For dessert I made a refreshing fruit "ice cream."  If you get in the habit of buying an extra bunch of bananas when you're at the market, ice cream like this can be your indulgent reality anytime.  Trust me, it's hard to believe that something so easy can taste SO good and be so good for you!  One serving will satisfy you while giving you a full serving of fruit in a totally whole food, non dairy, cholesterol free way! [caption id="attachment_373" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Strawberry Banana Vegan Ice Cream"]Strawberry Banana Vegan Ice Cream[/caption] Strawberry Banana Ice Cream (Serves 4 ) 2 cups frozen strawberries 4 frozen bananas 1/2 cup coconut milk 1 tsp agave or maple syrup (raw honey makes a good vegetarian whole food option) Put everything in the Vitamix or food processor and blitz for about 15 seconds or until everything is blended.  The Vitamix is preferable because you can use the tamper to push the bits down into the blades for a speedy blend.  The faster you blend, the better the ice cream.  Clearly, the longer you need to blend, the more the fruits melt and the more like soft serve or smoothie your concoction will be.

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