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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

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

Tomato Soup, Onion Style

Soup is easily one of my favorite foods. Two superstars : tomato soup and french onion soup, for sure! With my pantry and cupboards lacking veg broth, I figured it might be worth a try to make Tomato soup, onion style.... (go ahead and let PSY's "Gangnam Style" be the soundtrack for this post if you must! Anyway, it couldn't be easier to make (& you can even dance while you do it!) Start with equal parts diced tomato and sliced onion. In a large pot, heat a tbsp of veg butter or your favorite mild oil. Add onion and cook over gentle heat until onions are golden and fragrant. For me and my pot, this took about 20 minutes. Add the tomato and an equal amount of water... I used 4 cups tomato, 4 cups onion and 4 cups water. Simmer until tomato has broken down. Then puree with an immersion blender or cool and puree in your Vitamix or regular blender. If the soup is too thick, just add a bit more water to get it where you want. The thickness makes it versatile though, so don't instantly go for the water. Consider using it as a sauce for red lentils (stir in a bit of coconut milk and curry powder). As a soup goes, it has the rich oniony base and robust tomato goodness. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add torn basil for a treat. Throw in cooked rice for a hearty bowl (like I did for lunch). image Enjoy!

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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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Sarah Lawrence

GFV Peanut Noodles, Three Ways

Um, YUM!  Peanut noodles are a favorite in our house.  They taste great for a filling lunch or light dinner and pair nicely with a salad.  Super easy to adapt if you need an allergy friendly recipe --- sub sunflower seed butter for the peanut if necessary; omit the sesame seeds and substitute coconut oil or olive oil for sesame conscious cooking.  We’ve made it all different ways and have loved every version.  These noodles can stand up to a fair amount of veggies and even torn kale or other leafy greens.  If you want to give that a go just massage the greens with a bit of the dressing before you toss everything together and they will soften nicely.  The combination version is on my go-to list because it makes a HUGE plate of veggiful noodles that are great for lunch on another day.  I love the ease of these and hope you will too! [caption id="attachment_549" align="alignright" width="300" caption="GFV Peanut Noodles, 3 ways"]GFV Peanut Noodles, 3 ways[/caption] Peanut Noodles, Three Ways 3 large cucumbers, julienned or made into ribbons using julienne slicer 3 large carrots, same prep as cucumber 2 red peppers, sliced very thin (sub any color pepper) 6 asparagus stalks, sliced thinly on the diagonal (optional) 3 or 4 green onions, sliced into ribbons or rounds 8 oz pea shoots or other sprouts 1 green papaya, peeled, seeded and julienned (optional) 1 pkg Rice Noodles (I used 8.8 oz King Soba Pumpkin, Ginger and Rice Noodles) [caption id="attachment_550" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="King Soba Pumpkin, Ginger Rice Noodles"]King Soba Pumpkin, Ginger Rice Noodles[/caption] 2 Tbsp sesame oil 2 Tbsp Bragg’s Amino Acids or Tamari ¼ cup lime juice ¼ cup chunky peanut butter, Sunflower Seed Butter or Soynut butter 1 Tbsp finely grated ginger 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed ¼ cup cilantro, ripped or minced ¼ cup thai basil, ripped or minced (optional) 1 sprig of mint, ripped or minced (optional) 1 tsp sriarcha or ½ tsp chipotle chili powder (optional – adjust according to the level of heat you prefer) Sesame seeds for garnish For all versions: Start by combining sesame oil, Bragg’s/Tamari, lime juice, nut/seed butter, ginger, garlic, chili and herbal greens.  Whisk or stir to combine, then set aside. Version 1: (RAW) Make thin julienned strips of your veggies using a great knife, mandoline or a julienne peeler.  Massage dressing into the veggies and set aside for 10 minutes for flavors to combine before eating. Version 2: (NOODLE) Prepare rice noodles according to package directions.  The King Soba noodles I used cook in about 5 minutes. Once noodles are cooked and drained, toss them with the dressing and enjoy. Version 3: (COMBINATION) Prepare veggies as you would for the raw version.  Prepare the rice noodles as you would for the noodle version.  Cool the noodles by rinsing under cold water while they are draining in the colander.  Toss raw veggies with noodles and sauce.  Make sure everything gets coated.  Enjoy!

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Sarah Lawrence

Christmas Menu - a Gluten Free Vegan Feast

Christmas is such a wonderful holiday... celebrating the gifts of love and friendship... enjoying time with our family and friends.  For me, it's a joyful time.  In the kitchen, I want comfort and cozy... and I want tasty, healthy food that doesn't take all day to make!  I confess that I usually try new recipes at holiday time.  This year is no exception.  I'd love to share the inspiration for my 2 favorite dishes with you and hope that they can be a spark for you too! Okay, the ladies over at PPK are simply brilliant.  With a few modifications of the PPK vegan Macaroon recipe my Gluten Free Vegan version was born.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoy coconut and the macaroon is just one of those things that’s eluded me… but no longer!  Now you can enjoy them too!   I played with these a little and my favorite variation was pressing a whole almond into the top of the mound of dough, baking and then drizzling with chocolate instead of dipping the bottom... kind of like an Almond Joy if you're into that!  GFV Macaroons GFV Macaroons 3 oz extra firm silken tofu ¼ cup coconut oil 2 tablespoons coconut milk 1/3 cup sugar 2 teaspoons almond extract 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup sorghum flour or ¼ sorghum + ¼ cocoa powder (for a chocolicious version) ¼ cup almond meal ¼ cup arrowroot starch ¾ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 1 ½  cups unsweetened shredded coconut whole almonds, optional ½ cup chocolate chips, melted using a double boiler Variations recommended by PPK: Chipper: Add 1 cup mini chocolate chips to the batter Touch of Orange: Add 2 tsp orange zest and omit almond extract Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheets with parchment. Puree tofu, oil and milk in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Scrape the sides to get everything back into the mix.  Add the remaining ingredients except the coconut.  Pulse to combine.  Tip out into a large bowl and mix in the coconut.  The dough will be stiff. Scoop tablespoons of dough out of the bowl and onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  I use my nifty Pampered Chef medium ice cream scooper to get uniform balls of dough.  These cookies don’t spread, so you can get a TON onto a baking sheet.  But, don’t overcrowd them or they will take longer to bake. 15 minutes in your preheated 350 degree oven should do the trick… golden bottoms and lightly toasted tops. Transfer to a cooling rack while you melt the chocolate (I like the double boiler method where you place your bowl with the chocolate over a pot with a bit of boiling water on the stove… the bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the water, rather it should be big enough that it rests on the rim of the water pot so the steam and heat from the boiling water will gently melt the chocolate as you stir.) Once the chocolate is melted dip the cooled cookies in and coat their bottoms.  Then set them back onto the parchment lined baking sheet to set. Pop them in the fridge if you need them quickly, otherwise, a while at room temp will also set them up just fine.   The other super stars of our holiday feast were these chickpea almond tart shells.  Green Kitchen Stories is a new blog to me, but I am already in love!  David and Luise created a stellar GFV menu for Bon Appetit and their filled version of these shells was totally inspiring!  The recipe posted here includes my modifications based on our tastes.  I found the original recipe to be a bit too salty so I've cut the salt.  Also, the coconut oil I use is raw and tastes very coconutty, so for our tastes and with the pantry items we use I prefer to use Earth Balance to play off the nuttiness of the almond and chickpea flour without giving the added coconut note (even though I love coconut... it just didn't work for me here).  I added flaxseed meal to bump the nutritive value of the shell and loved the extra nuttiness that the flax gave.  So, try the original version and try my version... then make your own!  The beauty of cooking is that you have the freedom to create things that suite your tastes.    I spread a thin layer of garlicky roasted eggplant puree on the bottom of each baked shell, then added a layer of braised kale (chopped kale, garlic, shallot, parsley, veg broth), and topped with a dollop of herbed mashed potato. GFV Christmas Feast 2011 Served these alongside Quinoa studded with cranberries, pecans and roasted yams; mesculin greens with raspberries; steamed carrots seasoned with cardamon... and the meal was divine. Chickpea Almond Tart Shells Chickpea Almond Tart Shells Makes 6-8 tart shells depending on the size of your pans Tart shells 1 cup chickpea flour (besan) 1/4 cup flaxseed meal ¾  cup almond flour or almond meal 1/3 cup potato starch, tapioca starch, or cornstarch 1/8 tsp sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 3 Tbsp fresh herbs of your choice or 1 ½ Tbsp dried 6 Tbsp Earth Balance + 6-9 Tbsp cold water special equipment: small tart pans Preheat oven to 375°. Combine all ingredients in your food processor and pulse until a nice dough forms. Tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface (using either the chickpea or almond flour).  Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and press into your tart shells.  If your pans are non stick there shouldn’t be a need to oil them, but if they’re not then definitely give the pans a quick coating. Take a piece of dough and press it evenly onto the bottom of the 1st tart pan, then work it up the sides.  Use your thumbs to keep the dough from going over the edges while forming a nice uniform thickness on the sides.  Since I don’t know the size of your tart pans, you may need more of less dough to make this work.  The shells that we liked the best had less than ¼ inch thickness to the sides and bottom.  They bake up crisp and are not dense. Place tart pans on a baking sheet and pop into the preheated oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Remove the sheet from the oven and let the shells cool before filling them.  The bottoms will get soggy if you leave a filling in for too long, so be prepared to serve within about 45 minutes from the time you fill these little beauties.

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Sarah Lawrence

Quick Veggie Pad Thai (gluten free vegan goodness)

After the ridiculous story that broke yesterday about pizza being qualified as a vegetable by the USDA for US School Lunches, I just have to write!  When the pizza industry rules the world, it’s a SAD day!   According to an ABC news article the details boil down to cost and big business influence where dairy, wheat and mystery meat are the standard.  Well, this momma doesn’t play that way... and I'm not alone!  I think it’s time that we stand up and say, “There’s a new sheriff in town!” and actually mean it!  UGH!  Stand with me and make a change in your family.  Start where you are able.  If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I adore Dr. Fuhrman.  His “Nutritarian” approach to eating literally changed my health in the span of a few months and has given me back a balanced, nearly pain free body despite my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis.  I make  nutrient dense foods the main players in my meals (I almost wrote that I “try” to make them the main players, but, as my inner Yoda reminds me: “Do or Do Not.  There is no Try.” LOL!)   Now, if any of you follow Dr. Joel Fuhrman, you may have heard this acronym that he uses “GOMBBS” --- it’s an easy way to remember a list of potent antioxidant rich foods that Fuhrman cites not only as being superfoods, but also as being part of a cancer preventative way to eat.  So, GOMBBS foods are Greens, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries/Beans, and Seeds/Nuts.  There is a plethora of science backing the goodness of these guys.  You can read more about that here.  My vegetable rich, GOMBBS filled Pad Thai is an example of how I pack our family meals with all the goodness I can while still making something that tastes great, is high in fiber, gluten free and dairy free (to meet our requirements from allergy and intolerances). I used to make this dish with white rice noodles but have found brown rice noodles that offer more fiber than their counterpart while adding a pleasant nuttiness.  If you can find them, give them a try.  If not, use traditional white rice maifun.  Either way, know that you are making a meal that is colorful, flavorful and healthful!  This makes a generous 6-8 portions and it reheats beautifully for lunch or a meal another day. Enjoy! [caption id="attachment_500" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Quick Veggie Pad Thai"]Quick Veggie Pad Thai[/caption] Quick Vegan Pad Thai with Veg, Greens and Goji (serves 6, 15 minutes start to finish) 2 packages dry brown rice noodles (maifun) 1 package firm, cubed tofu (I use Nasoya organic), drained 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 lb cabbage or bok choy, shredded ½ lb carrot, sliced thinly on the diagonal or into matchsticks ½ lb celery, sliced thinly on the diagonal or into matchsticks ½ lb onion, sliced thinly ½ lb kale, shredded ½ lb mushrooms, sliced ½ lb zucchini, sliced thinly on the diagonal or into matchsticks (optional) ½ cup peanuts, unsalted 1/3 cup gluten free tamari 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar 1 Tbsp tamarind paste 1/4 cup goji berries dash of sriracha or fresh red thai chili 2 dates green onions, for topping 1-2 Tbsp oil for the pan Put rice noodles into a large bowl and pour hot water over them.  You want the noodles covered with hot water so they soften. In the now, heat a wok or large cast iron skillet and add a bit of oil.  Toss in your garlic and tofu.  We want them to get golden, but not brown.  Stir often with a metal spatula and remove everything to a big serving bowl after about 5 minutes or when yours are golden and fragrant. In the same hot skillet that you just took the garlic and tofu out of, throw in all the veggies except the mushroom and get them going.  These guys are going to work for about 4 minutes. While the veggies are sweating, mix the tamari, vinegar, tamarind, sriracha, goji and dates in your Vitamix or food processor until you have a smooth sauce.  Taste it and adjust the seasoning to suite your taste if necessary. Check the veggies and give them a few good stirs.  Add the mushrooms into the mix.  We are looking for the veggies to get soft, but not mushy and the mushrooms end up keeping a nice toothsome bite since we're arriving to the party fashionably late.  Give the veggies another 3-4 minutes then transfer them to the serving bowl right on top of the garlic and tofu. Add a tiny bit of oil to your pan.  While it’s heating, drain the noodles that were soaking.  Add the noodles to the hot pan and immediately stir them around.  Pour the sauce over the top and use tongs or a big spoon to combine everything.  You want to keep the noodles moving so they don’t stick.  Once they’re hot and the sauce is fragrant tip the veggies, tofu and garlic back into the pan.  Add the peanuts.  Use tongs to combine everything.  Transfer the lot to the serving bowl or straight onto dishes if you prefer.  Top with the sliced green onion and extra peanuts if you like.  YUM!

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