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SarahLawrenceCHHC

Spring Lentil Soup

Welcoming Spring with a warm lentil and mushroom soup.  It was 50 degrees here in New Hampshire today, but the ground is still blanketed with snow.  In the early days of a new season, we are invited to lean in.  Transitioning is often more comfortable when we work with food to aide the shift.

So, a pot of beautiful Spring Lentil Soup is in order for our family table today.  Rich with immune supportive mushrooms, this soup could be had in the depth of winter (but I would make it thicker and more hearty with the addition of white beans).  

To make it:
Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a soup pot and saute~
1 large onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander

Add ~
1 cup each diced celery and carrot
2 cups crimini or button mushrooms, minced
1 cup green lentils
6 cups vegetable or mushroom stock

Simmer until the lentils are tender and the broth is rich... about 45 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a salad.  On our table tonight -- torn Romaine and Kale with caramelized yellow beets and maple walnuts  -- its' about the most perfect pairing.  

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Sarah Lawrence

Mac & Cheese

I've been hearing from a lot of you lately that you need some tasty, dairy and gluten free recipes for kids.  This one has been a GodSend in our home for years.  We use gluten free pasta, but if you're not gluten free you can use whatever you like!  The cheese sauce is also yummy served over rice with broccoli, drizzled over burritos or your favorite Mexican dish.  Thin it out as needed. Cut back on the Daiya if it's too thick for your taste.  Easy. Yummy. Comforting for the little ones who are just looking for the taste of something familiar. Freedom Mac and Cheese 4 servings, 15-30 minutes from start to finish.
  • 8 ounces pasta, any shape and gluten free if necessary
  • 1 package Daiya cheddar style Shreds (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance
  • 2 cups unsweetened milk product of your choice (rice milk, hemp milk, coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional, but definitely helps cheesy flavor and boosts B12)
If you are baking the mac and cheese, here is a topper/crust idea:
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or melted Earth Balance (to moisten and bind)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ tsp ground pepper or to taste
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs, optional
If you’re going to be baking the mac and cheese, preheat oven to 350°F. Get your water boiling and cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking: Prepare the cheese sauce by warming the alternative milk, Earth Balance and Daiya.  Over medium low heat, stir or whisk until cheese melts, then add the nutritional yeast and whisk to combine. If sauce is too thick for your liking just stream in a bit more of your milk choice and whisk to loosen the sauce.  My kids like a thicker, creamier sauce… but we’ve gone up to 3 cups of liquid and gotten a nice, thinner consistency that is more like Kraft mac and cheese from the box mixes. Toss the cooked pasta with the creamy sauce and either transfer it to serving bowls or to a casserole dish (if you’re baking it). For baked mac and cheese:  Top with the bread crumbs and paprika. Bake for 15 minutes uncovered, or until the cheese is bubbling and top is starting to brown.

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Sarah Lawrence

Eat this!

I love taking recipes that my friends are making and converting them into things that my family can eat.  For one thing, it gives me a challenge.  But, more importantly, it helps my kids feel like they are being included in the "hip" culinary circles that their friends enjoy.   It's a BIG DEAL to feel like you CAN eat "NORMAL FOOD" when you are dealing with dietary restrictions... no matter what your age, stage or reason. So I took on the taquito.  These things are the rage on pinterest and kids are bringing them in for snack at school and super star moms are baking them up as after school snacks.  I'm in, I figured.  Let's do this!  Scale the recipe up if you have time and par bake the taquitos for 5 minutes, then remove them, cool them and wrap them individually to freeze!  Love it! Make it a meal: (adjust option to suit your family -- we round things out with BIG salads!)
  1. add a chopped salad (chopped greens, cukes, tomato, celery, red onion, pepper, avocado, carrot, berries, nuts, etc)
  2. add a soup (a brothy veg soup with fresh tomatoes, a hit of cayenne and lime and lots of cilantro would be great with the taquitos!)
Now, high five me and get in that kitchen! :) 003 Sarah's Baked Black Bean Taquitos ~ serves 4 for dinner, more as a snack ~
  • 1 can(822g) black beans (or 2.5 cups homemade)
  • 1 cup mushrooms, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa (or salsa of your choice)
  • 3 Tbsp dairy free cream cheese (I use Tofutti or Daiya)
  • 1 cup dairy free shredded cheese (I used Daiya)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 clove garlic, minced or 1/2 tsp powdered garlic
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 package gluten free tortillas -- many corn tortillas are ok, but check for wheat flour as some brands are labeled as corn but also include wheat
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Drain the beans and toss them in a good sized bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (except the tortillas!) and stir until combined.
I find that steaming my gluten free tortillas makes them pliable enough to roll, so I set up a pot with about an inch of water, get that boiling and them set a cookie cooling rack on top of the open pot.  I set the stack of tortillas on the rack and cover with an oversized pot rack so they can steam for a few minutes.
  1. Now, take one tortilla and lay it out on your work surface.  Add about 3 Tbsp of filling in a line down the left edge.  Then fold the left edge over the filling and roll it tightly to the right.
  2. Lay the rolled taquito on a sheet tray and continue until you've used up your filling and tortillas.
  3. Put the pan into the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the edges just brown.
  4. Remove and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

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Sarah Lawrence

Sweet Potato Walnut Pilaf

I don't know about you, but I am always trying to think of ways to feed my family healthy foods that taste great, are easy to prepare and economical too!  Tonight, I'm sharing part 1 of this two-fer dish.  It's quick (30 minutes including prep), tastes great and will do double duty for you tomorrow night!
Nutritional-Know-How: I use sweet potatoes because they are rich in vitamins A, C, B6, B3, B1, B2, copper, manganese, pantothenic acid, biotin, potassium and fiber!  These high pigment powerhouses are anti-inflammatory wonders, help balance fibrinogen.  It's important to include a little bit of fat when eating sweet potato to unlock the potential of the beta-carotene in your body.* Walnuts not only add an earthy flavor but also contain an omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid(ALA), copper, manganese, molybdenum and biotin.  Walnuts are a great source of gamma-tocopherol (a form of Vitamin E that has been shown to provide significant for the heart). The levels of potassium, calcium and magnesium along with other antioxidants in walnuts has been shown to help regulate blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and bone health.* Mushrooms are anti-cancer nuggets that are amazingly supportive of the immune system.  They became a part of our daily diet when I reviewed the studies cited in some work by Dr. Joel Fuhrman that found that "frequent consumption of mushrooms has been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer by 64%" -- and we're not talking about a ton of mushrooms... we're talking about the equivalent of 1 button mushroom a day!!! * Millet is a great choice for many reasons... it's gluten free, high in protein(6 g/cup) and fiber(2 g/cup), rich in copper, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium.  It looks a lot like couscous and can be substituted for couscous to make recipes gluten free!*

Sweet Potato Walnut Pilaf IMG_7582 Here's what you need to get started:
  • 2 lbs organic sweet potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, minced
  • 1 cup millet, uncooked ~ rinsed and drained
  • 2.5 cups water + 1 Tbsp broth powder OR 2.5 cups broth
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup parsley, minced
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  While you're waiting, spread the cubed sweet potato onto a baking sheet, drizzle it with the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
  2. In a small skillet, over medium heat, sauté the onion and mushroom for about 5 minutes or until fragrant and soft.
  3. Add millet and water/broth and bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat.
  4. The oven should be hot enough now, so go ahead and put the baking sheet with the sweet potato on in and set your timer for 20 minutes.
  5. When the timer goes off take the sweet potato out of the oven and shut that off.  Remove the lid from your millet and taste it to see if it's done.  It's okay for millet to have a little bite to it, but you can also take it further to get it softer if you prefer.  When you're satisfied with the millet, turn off the heat, toss in the cooked sweet potato, the chopped walnuts and parsley.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as you like.
ENJOY!  And pop over tomorrow for Part 2 -- you're going to love what we do with the leftovers!   *Sources: Sweet Potato Walnut Mushroom Millet

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Sarah Lawrence

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Red Pepper Puree

Cauliflower is a beautiful, neutral veg.  Eat it raw or steam it and make a great mash or base for pizza crust (what?!!!).  Here, cauliflower creates a luscious, velvety soup base that’s hard to beat especially when you consider how quickly it comes together and how fabulous this cruciferous beauty is for your bod.  Cauliflower supports the body's detox system, antioxidant system, and inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system.  Why is that important?  Well, basically every major disease has roots in one or more of those systems… so, supporting them helps keep everything working properly.  That aside, cauliflower is high in Vitamins C, K and Folate; it is also fiber rich, so you’re in for some great digestive benefits to boot! [caption id="attachment_722" align="alignleft" width="640"]Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Red Pepper Puree Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Red Pepper Puree[/caption]     Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Red Pepper Puree 1 head cauliflower, leaves removed, cleaned and chopped 1 large leek, green top removed, cleaned and sliced 1 medium potato, peeled & cubed 1 cup slivered almonds or raw almonds with skins blanched off 6 cups vegetable broth 1 tsp turmeric (optional) ~ boosts anti-inflammatory benefits Put everything in a soup pot and bring to a simmer.  After 20 minutes, the veg should be soft.  Turn off the heat and let the soup cool for a few minutes.  Carefully transfer the veg and broth to your blender (in batches if necessary), and blend until smooth.  Alternatively, use a handheld immersion blender and blend it in the pot. *If your blender has difficulty making this smooth on the first go, try soaking the almonds for an hour to soften them before adding them to the soup pot next time.  The Vitamix blends them beautifully, but others may leave a grainy texture without soaking. While soup is cooking, you can make the Red Pepper Puree 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained or 3 red peppers, seeded, sliced and roasted until soft 1 tsp olive oil 1 Tbsp maple syrup salt and pepper to taste Put everything in your Vitamix or blender and whiz until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  Transfer to a clean jar. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with a swirl or dollop of the red pepper puree.

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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

Taco Bell Peppers with Spicy NutMeat

[caption id="attachment_568" align="alignleft" width="300"]Taco Bell Peppers with Raw Nut Meat Taco Bell Peppers with Raw Nut Meat[/caption] About 90% of what I eat is raw food. Not only do I find meal prep quick and easy, but tasty too! Try a few bites of my Taco Bell and you’ll see! Walnuts are a meaty nut and while there are a ton of raw taco filling recipes out there, I've come to rely on my concoction that blends walnuts and portobellos with a great texture and satisfying flavor. Taco Bell Peppers with Spicy NutMeat A few crisp Bell Peppers, your choice of color Avocado, sliced greens of your choice tomato, sliced or cubed Salsa, fresh or purchased (optional) NutMeat Ingredients: 1 cup walnuts 1 portobello mushroom cap, black gills removed; minced ½-1 tsp chipotle chile powder (adjust to suit your taste) 1 tsp cumin 1/2 tsp olive oil 1 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Amino’s Pulse all of the NutMeat ingredients in your food processor until mixture resembles ground meat. It only takes a few pulses. Alternatively, you can put the nuts in a plastic bag and crush them by bashing them with a fairly solid can (I use canned tomato for this) or roll over the bag with your rolling pin. You can also use a chefs knife and mince the nuts and mushroom by hand. Using hand methods will take a bit longer and will yield a slightly uneven texture, but the taste will be the same once you mix all the ingredients together. When I made this using hand skills, I used my mortar and pestle to grind the spices into a small amount of the nuts and then mixed everything. The smaller the mushroom bits, the more the mixture will resemble ground meat --- texture does make a difference, especially when you are introducing a raw food as a substitute for something as familiar as taco meat! Set the nut mixture aside while you clean and prep the peppers. This step involves nothing more than washing your produce, slicing off the green stem portion and cleaning out the seeds with your hands. For portioning the peppers I used, I found that 3 segments worked, but you will need to gauge that with your peppers since some peppers have 4 lobes and some 3. Work with the natural segmentation of your pepper and make slices that will become the vessel for your tacos. Prepare your remaining veggies and then assemble by laying down some greens in the cavity of the pepper shells. I go greens, salsa, avocado, tomato, nut meat… repeat, plate and eat! If you want an easy variation that is not raw, consider adding some cooked black beans on top of the nut meat. Equally tasty and a nice transition into a high raw meal.

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Sarah Lawrence

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry (gluten free, dairy free, vegan)

Cooked a batch of chickpeas this week... so chickpeas get to star in a few meals. Here's the result of my kitchen fun on Sunday. We enjoyed this curry for lunch yesterday. Want to stretch it? Add a bit more tomato and almond milk or even veg broth to make more of a sauce and you could easily serve this over rice, quinoa, millet or noodles.  Round everything out with a big beautiful salad!   [caption id="attachment_565" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry"]Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry[/caption] Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry 3 cups cooked chickpeas 2 large sweet potatoes, cubed 1 leek, minced 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 large tomato, diced (1-2 cups total), reserve about 1/4 cup for garnish 3 Tbsp curry powder (your choice) 2 cups water 1 cup almond milk or coconut milk 1-2 tsp salt 1-2 tsp pepper   Combine everything except almond milk, salt and pepper in a large cast iron skillet or your favorite pot.  Bring the stew to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about 30-40 minutes until the sweet potato and chickpeas are soft.  You will want to check the pot a few times during cooking to make sure that it’s not getting dry.  You can add more water as necessary and may want to turn down the heat.  We aren’t after a vigorous boil… we want gentle heat so we keep the sweet potato in cube form. Once you’ve cooked everything to this point you have a choice.  Add in the almond or coconut milk and season with salt and pepper to taste so you can serve this stew right now OR let it cool and pop it in the fridge overnight.  When you reheat the stew, add the almond/coconut milk and season --- you will be rewarded for your patience with a much more flavorful curry than if you serve it right away.

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Sarah Lawrence

Easter 2012 – our best (and easiest) Gluten Free Vegan Feast ever!

[caption id="attachment_553" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Easter 2012"]Easter 2012[/caption] I really wish you could have been here today to SMELL our Easter Feast cooking.  Have you ever had one of those proud moments where you are outside and you smell something amazing and think to yourself, "I'd love to taste THAT!"  --- it's that kind of smell that totally makes you jealous, unless it's coming from your house... your kitchen... and then you just feel proud!  Yup, I had that moment today.  I think you're going to love me for experimenting with socca today (if you don't already love me!)  Maybe you think it's wrong to experiment with food on a holiday, but I'm always game.  Becuase I've been on a socca kick lately, I figured that socca works so beautifully when it's thin that it might work beautifully as a binder in a thick pie/kind of quiche form... and I am beside myself with glee because it does and it does so in an amazing, dare I say, incredible way!   I wanted something like Spanikopita, so I used kale for a base of greens and artichoke for that feta-like saltiness.  This is one basic idea that I can't wait to play with using other greens and flavor combinations.  What will you try? What's even better than a meal that tastes great?  -- A meal that's also easy to prepare.  No slaving in the kitchen for this cook today! I turned on the oven, spent about 20 minutes prepping veggies and then enjoyed time with my family for an hour while things cooked.  Easy enough for any night of the week and PERFECT for leftovers!  Try them and let me know what you think!    Mesculin Greens with Beets, Grapefruit and Toasted Pecans  - Fill salad bowl with greens, top with diced beet (ours were peeled, raw); slice grapefruit in half and cut out the segments, then squeeze rind to lightly splash greens with the grapefruit juice; top with toasted pecans (I toasted ours in a dab of coconut oil and sprinkled with a pinch of coconut sugar and a pinch of salt). Butternut Squash Soup  -- Peel and de-seed 1 butternut squash (or cheat and buy peeled squash at the market like I did this time!); Dice about 1 cup of sweet onion.  Add squash and onion to a soup pot and add 8 cups of water.  Add 1 tsp salt, heaping tsp pepper, a few cloves of garlic, 1 tsp cumin.  Boil for 20 minutes.  Cool.  Puree in blender.  Reheat and serve. Kale and Artichoke Socca Pie -- Wash and chop 1 lb kale.  Dice 1 cup onion.  Mince 3 cloves garlic.  Add to hot skillet and sauté until veggies are soft.  Season with rosemary, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in ¾ cup chopped artichoke hearts. -- Combine 2 cups chickpea flour, 2 cups water, juice of 1 lemon. -- lightly oil/spray an 8 inch springform pan.  Pour enough batter to coat bottom, then add half veg mixture, top with batter, add remaining veg and top with remaining batter.  Lightly mix using a fork… it’s more like moving the veg to the side so the batter can penetrate. -- bake in 400 F oven for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Roasted Veggies -- Clean and chop veggies into bite sized pieces.  I used carrots, potato and onion.  Add 1 tsp coconut oil and stir to coat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in 400 F oven with the Socca Pie for 1 hour.  Toss with fresh dill before serving.

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