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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

Spanakopita for Gluten Free Vegan Me (and you!)

The Greek flavors in traditional Spanakopita are a knock-your-socks-off combination.  Going Gluten Free means no crispy filo… such a bummer, really (let's keep this real!).  So instead of trying to make a miracle and recreate that flaky, crispy, buttery shell we are going to make the filling our superstar.  It really stands on it's own.  Now, if you’re okay with sheep's milk Feta or if you have access to a vegan artisanal Feta then go ahead and crumble some into your cooked spinach.  But if you’re dairy free, like me, embrace the amazingly briny bite of some green olives instead.  Capers are another great choice if you don’t have access to olives.  Because feta is such a briny, salty cheese choosing something with similar attributes makes this free version satisfying while honoring the flavors of the original.

041The spinach bowl comes together quickly and makes a lot which is perfect for leftovers.  Try the puffs and pancakes or top a polenta pizza crust with caramelized onions and leftover spinach.  Want another one?  Mix equal amounts of leftover spinach with cooked quinoa and about ½ as much finely chopped walnuts and parsley; Roll this mixture into balls and bake for some tasty spinach balls.  If the mixture is too dry, add a few tablespoons of prepared hummus to bind it.  TOTALLY yum!  You can’t go wrong with a batch of Greek inspired spinach!  Because we love this I use the BIG bag of organic spinach from our warehouse club store.  Scale it back if you're using less... the quantities I use make the math easy (and it's a fun exercise for my kids to do so maybe yours will like it too!)

~ Go get in the kitchen and love it up!

Vegan Spanakopita Bowl 3.5 lbs frozen leaf spinach (in a bag, not box if you have a choice) 3 large white onion, minced 3 cloves garlic, minced 4 oz green olives, roughly chopped into a small dice 3/4 cup raw cashews, chopped 3/4 cup fresh parsley, minced 3/4 cup fresh dill, minced zest of 1 organic lemon juice of 1 organic lemon 1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg salt and pepper to taste In a very large skillet heat a tsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Sauté the onion until translucent.  Add garlic and cashews and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to keep this from burning. Add spinach, herbs and nutmeg and cook for about 5 minutes until the leaves are soft and any water has cooked off. Turn off the heat and stir in the olives and lemon.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Serving options – serve with cooked rice or pasta of your choice.  I like to serve it with a salad of tomato and fennel. Spanakopita Puffs and Pancakes 004 3.5 cups all-purpose GF flour 1 tbsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 tsp cracked pepper 1 tsp granulated garlic (omit if you cook the spinach with 2 cloves of minced garlic) 1/2 cup plain coconut milk 2 tbsp flax meal or chia meal + 1 cup water 1 tbsp olive oil 1/3 cup lemon juice 1 cup cooked spinach (leftovers work great!) 1 cup olives, chopped 1/2 cup sun dried or dehydrated tomatoes To make puffs, set the oven to 400 degrees F and spray or rub a muffin tin with oil (recipe will make 18 muffin size bites).  To make pancakes just pull out a cast iron skillet or griddle pan and lightly coat with oil. Mix the dry ingredients in a 2 quart bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut milk, water, oil, lemon juice and flax meal.  Set this aside and allow the flax or chia to swell. Add cooked spinach, olives and tomato to the dry ingredients and stir well to break up the veg and coat them with the flour mix. Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine. For puffs, scoop the batter into each muffin cup.  Fill each section, but don’t overfill.  Pop the trays into the oven and bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For pancakes, heat the cast iron skillet/griddle and pour 1/3 cup of batter at a time, just as you would pancakes.  Tops will get a little dry and edges will set.  Flip and cook for another few minutes before plating.  Serve with Creamy Onion Dressing for drizzling or dipping.   Creamy Onion Dressing 1 cup raw cashews 1 cup hot water 2 Tbsp onion powder ½ tsp salt minced chive or green onion for garnish (optional) Put everything into Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy.  If you are using a different blender, soak the cashews for 20-30 minutes prior to blending.  This extra step will soften the cashews and ensure a smooth dressing. (Want to know a secret? This dressing is fabulous drizzled on baked potato or mixed into mashed potato.  You’re welcome!)

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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

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

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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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

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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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

Crunchy Apple Celery Sunflower Salad

I've been eating raw this week after a bout of stomach unpleasantry on Monday night and this is the first real meal I've had outside of apples and bananas!  Super quick, crunchy and tasty.  My boys each ate a big bowl and gave all thumbs up!  The fennel bulb is something I bought last weekend and planned to use early in the week... but that plan got foiled by the sickness.  The bulb was very mildly flavored and likely would have been better if I used it closer to purchase, but it was still softly anise scented and very crisp and crunchy.  If you prefer more anise flavor, use more and if anise isn't for you just leave it out. Vary the nut choice, use orange juice instead of lemon, try thyme or oregano or parsley instead of the mint and lemon balm.  Sliced or shredded carrot would also be lovely in this salad.  Use what you have or try something new.  Enjoy! Crunchy Apple Celery Sunflower Salad [caption id="attachment_367" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Crunchy Apple Celery Sunflower Salad"]Crunchy Apple Celery Sunflower Salad[/caption] (Serves 4 as a main salad – 6-8 as an appetizer) This recipe can be doubled or tripled if you’re feeding a crowd.  It will keep in the refrigerator for several days before the veggies lose their crunch.  If you are going to be storing this salad, hold out the nuts and seeds until just before serving.  Choose a green apple variety if you want something particularly tangy, otherwise, go for something sweet and red like a Gala apple for a beautiful pop of color. Dressing fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon, approximately 1/3 cup splash of mirin 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup fresh ground pepper to taste Salad 8 celery stalks with greens, approximately 1 celery heart 3 apples, your choice of variety 1 cup raw fennel/anise, approximately ½ of a bulb 1 cup cucumber, approximately a 5 inch cucumber 1 cup raw cashews 1 cup raw sunflower seeds 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or lemon balm Kale ~ how much you use is up to you and your level of green eating; see note at the end of the recipe.  Let’s start by whisking the dressing ingredients in small bowl until they are combined.  Dip the tip of a clean spoon and either lick it or swipe it with your finger to get a taste.  Adjust your seasoning with pepper or whatever suits your tastes.  Set aside. Moving on, we’re going to tackle the veg and fruit.  Keep the celery heart together and trim the bottom off.  Slice thin pieces from the stalks straight across or on the diagonal.  Put the celery slices in a bowl and cover with cool water.  Swish the pieces around to loosen and remove any debris, then strain and set aside. Slice the apples into quarters.  Thinly slice each quarter so you end up with bite size apple slices. Slice the raw fennel into pieces similar in size to the apple pieces. Slice the cucumber into quarters and slice it too as you’ve done the apple. Tip the apple slices into a large bowl and add the dressing. Toss to combine.  The acid in the vinaigrette will keep the apple from browning, so be sure to coat the pieces.  Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine all the sliced veg.  If you are serving this within an hour or so, you can add the nuts and seeds.  Otherwise, if you want the nuts and seeds to retain their bite, hold them out until you are ready to serve and then throw them in and give everything a toss. The kale is something that you can use as a bed of greens for your salad.  You can also use large leaves of kales as wrappers to hold a scoop of salad and then roll it up like a burrito to eat.  Alternatively, you can chop or tear the leaves and add them into your salad in whatever amount you and yours enjoy.  This is a great way to introduce kale in a palatable salad in one of many ways… find something that works for you and get more kale into your gut!  Kale does a body good!

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creativecalligraphy

Cashew Chickpea "Burgers"

I don't have a ton of time to write tonight, but this was SOOOO good!  Baseball practice ran an hour later than expected tonight, so I needed a quick dinner.  With a bit of leftover white beans, some garbanzo flour and a healthy handful of parsley the humble cashew is again a kitchen favorite. 
Cashew Chickpea Burger
Cashew Chickpea Burger
 
Cashew Chickpea Burger
 
1 cup raw cashews 1 onion 2 cloves garlic 1 bunch parsley ¾ cup cooked white beans (this is a great way to use leftover beans!) 1 cup garbanzo bean flour ¼ cup braggs amino acids or gluten free soy sauce juice of 1 lemon ¼ cup water Place cashews, onion and garlic in the food processor and pulse until you have a coarsely ground mixture.  Add in the parsley and beans and pulse the mixture again.  We don’t want a paste, but we are looking for everything to be combined with no large chunks. Go ahead and add the garbanzo bean flour into the food processor and give it a pulse or two.  Stream in the liquids and add up to ½ cup of water if needed to make a smooth batter.  The batter will thicken over the next 10 minutes, so don’t worry if it seems liquidy.  [caption id="attachment_335" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Cashew Chickpea Batter"]Cashew Chickpea Batter[/caption] Once blended, transfer the batter to a bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  If the batter seems very liquidy after sitting for 10 minutes add another ¼ cup of garbanzo bean flour and stir it thoroughly to combine.  This should thicken the batter.   Now, start prepping your cook surface.  You can use a skillet, grill pan, griddle… whatever you choose.  When your batter is set, get your cook surface lightly oiled and hot over medium heat.  Scoop out a few portions of batter at a time and spread it out to about ¼ inch thick patty shape.  Cook for approximately 2 minutes per side.  The patties will get crisp and golden.  Set on paper towel to absorb any excess oil while you continue to scoop batter and cook the remainder of the batch. Serve over mixed greens with minted veg on the side or pop a few little patties into pita if you can do gluten.  Yummy hot, warm or cold!  The patties firm up as they cool and make a great finger food for little ones. Variations:  use black beans instead of white (navy or cannellini beans); try adding 1 TBSP rosemary or sage with the parsley; substitute cilantro for the parsley and serve with salsa; season with a tsp or two of cumin or curry powder; use cooked lentils instead of beans.

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