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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

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

Ingredient Adventure: Black Chickpeas

I love trying new ingredients.  This bag of Black Chickpeas has been in my pantry for a little over a month now and I decided that tonight was their opening night in our kitchen!  Most of the recipes I've seen that use black chickpeas describe them as a snack or side dish and use them in a spiced sauce with some gamey meat.  Instead of using these little nuggets in their traditional supporting role, I've used them as the star.  This meal was rounded out with a gorgeous saute of ripped kale, seasoned with a sprinkle of salt and pepper as well as a scoop of steamed quinoa.  I also created a Gingered Coconut Almond Cream to top the Chickpeas, just because... I love ginger and I love a creamy sauce that I can dip into or swirl into a dish.  About 1 Tbsp topped each serving of Chickpeas. The Family Verdict: My 9 year old enjoyed the meal; the 5 year old mixed everything together and ate all but a few bites; my sweet husband left some of the kale and noted that because the black chickpeas look like black beans he expected them to be softer.  I cooked the chickpeas just past al dente, but it would be really easy to cook them a bit more to soften them. Notes: the Black Chickpea soaks and cooks the same as a tan chickpea, though this variety seems much smaller than tan chickpeas.  The taste is also very similar if not the same as the tan variety.  My next 2 experiments will be dry roasting them and trying a Black Chickpea hummus. [caption id="attachment_475" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Black Chickpeas with Kale and Quinoa"]black chickpeas in Spiced Tomato Sauce[/caption] Black Chickpeas in Spiced Tomato Sauce (yields 6-8 servings) Adapted from this Chana-chanp recipe 2 cups dry Black Chickpeas, soaked 1 tsp coconut oil 1 lb Onion, chopped 1 cup coconut milk + 2 Tbsp lemon juice 1 lb Tomato, crushed 1 Tbsp cumin powder 1 tsp turmeric powder 3 Tbsp Garlic, chopped 2 Tbsp Ginger, chopped 1 Tbsp chili powder or a generous squeeze of Sriracha, optional handful fresh Cilantro, chopped Salt, to taste Prep: Rinse the chickpeas in cool water to clean them.  Soak the chickpeas over night; drain. Heat oil in a pan and fry the onions until soft.  Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, ginger, garlic, turmeric powder and cumin and boil until chickpeas are soft, about 45 minutes.  Once the chickpeas are cooked, turn off the heat and add the coconut milk/lemon juice mixture.  Taste.  Season with chili powder or sriracha as desired.  If you are serving children, you may want to reserve a portion before seasoning with the hot pepper options. Top with minced cilantro and serve.   Ripped Kale 1 bunch of kale, ripped or chopped into small pieces 1 tsp coconut oil Heat coconut oil in a wok or saute pan and add the kale.  Saute over high heat for 3-4 minutes until the kale is vibrant green and wilted.  Season with a hint of salt and pepper if desired.   Gingered Coconut Almond Cream (yields 1 1/3 cup) 1 cup coconut milk 1 cup raw almonds 1 tsp ground ginger or 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger Combine all ingredients in the Vitamix or other high powered blender.  Blend until very smooth.  The flavor or the cream intensifies the longer it sits.  Fresh ginger yields a stronger flavor faster.

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creativecalligraphy

A Duo of Quick and Tasty Salad

Salad and greens are the mainstay of my daily diet.  What's phenomenal about greens are their versatility.  The variety of flavors that you can grow in a window box or sprouter is equally impressive.  So, while some might think "boring" when they think salad, I think of the possibilities and the freedom! I made this for lunch today and used about ¼ of the beautiful green papaya that I bought at Lanni Market.  To feed more than one person just double or triple the recipe.  It’s quick, easy and full of flavor!  I love Som Tum, the Thai Green papaya Salad and while it’s not difficult to make according to traditional recipes which include fresh chilies, palm sugar and fish sauce, I love my speedy vegan version that uses local ingredients from my pantry.  Jicama can be substituted for the green papaya if you can’t get your hands on one.  And if you really want to keep it local, try using a produce item from your area that is crisp and mild.  I’ve used local apples and slightly under-ripe green melon with nice results.   The kelp granules give that hint of the sea flavor that fish sauce imparts in traditional Som Tum recipes.  Not critical, but it is nice and adds a sprinkle of nutrients and iodine as well. [caption id="attachment_457" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Quick Green Papaya Salad"]Quick Green Papaya Salad[/caption] Quick Green Papaya Salad 1 cup green papaya, thinly sliced (as thin as you can make it!) 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced 1 medium sized tomato, about ¾ cup sliced 1 small knob ginger, grated, about 1 tsp grated ginger 1 tsp maple syrup 1 tsp braggs aminos ½ tsp kelp granules (optional) ¼ - ½ tsp chipotle chili powder Put all ingredients into a bowl and use your fingers to combine everything well.  Eat! *************************** Our dinner salad was an experiment in balance.  The garlic ginger dressing was sweet and spicy.  The romaine was sweet and crisp; blueberries, tart; tomatoes, creamy; cucumber, crunchy and green; plums, lusciously sweet and creamy.  Next time, I would add a bitter green to the bowl... a handful of arugula or watercress would be perfect!   Ginger Garlic Dressing (yields 1 + cup of dressing) 2 cloves garlic 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root, grated 1/4 cup sesame oil 1/3 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar 1/3 cup mirin 1/4 cup Bragg’s aminos or soy sauce 2 Tbsp rice syrup (or 1 Tbsp honey if you prefer) 1/4 cup water, optional Mash the garlic using your mortar and pestle or mince very finely.  Combine with remaining ingredients and thin with water if you like.  [caption id="attachment_458" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Balanced Salad"]Balanced Salad[/caption] Balanced Salad (makes 4 entree servings, 2 adult and 2 kid portions) 2 romaine hearts, chopped 1 cup kale, stemmed and chopped (about 4 leaves) handful of arugula, watercress or dandelion greens 1 cup blueberries 2-3 local tomatoes, quartered 1 local cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and sliced 4 local black plums, quartered Make sure your hands are washed before you start prepping your salad, because you're going to use them! Cut the greens into bite sized pieces to make them more appealing and easier for kids to eat.  Toss all ingredients into a large bowl.  Ladle 1/3- 1/2 cup of dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly with your hands.  Rubbing the dressing into the greens will coat them beautifully.  Pay particular attention to the kale bits... rubbing them tenderizes them a little... it's magical!

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creativecalligraphy

30 Minute Garden Tomato Sauce

If your garden is also at the height of tomato glory then this recipe is for you. I feel like typing, set it and forget it, because this guy is so easy. Basically your only prep work is washing your veggies and maybe cutting some in half so they fit in the pot! This is the kind of sauce that can handle a myriad of additions.  Great way to utilize leftover veg purees or bits that you might save for stock.  I added in 1/2 cup of leftover carrot puree and 1/2 cup of leftover spinach puree.  A handful of sundried tomatoes finished this off for me, but the sauce is bright and lovely just as it is.  The bottom line is that you can and should make this your own with what you have available. Enjoy!
30 Minute Garden Tomato Sauce 2 lbs tomato, whole 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled 1 onion, whole (if the skin is in great condition), peeled (if the skin is compromised) 2 celery stalk, halved or leftover celery ends Reserve: 1 lb zucchini or summer squash, diced Note: If you are serving your sauce over pasta, set up a 2nd pot with water for your noodles now.  Your water will be boiling in 10-15 minutes and you can drop the pasta in time to be ready for the sauce.  (You can thank me for tip this later.) [caption id="attachment_435" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Right out of the gateNearing the finish line"]Right out of the gate[/caption]
Now: Add all ingredients into a stock pot with 5-6 cups water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat just after the pot boils and simmer for 20 minutes.  Turn the heat to low, use a slotted spoon to rescue the garlic and onion (if you dropped the onion with skin on, otherwise it will go with the other veggies); put these on your cutting board for a minute to cool.  In the meantime, transfer the veggies to your blender and whiz them until chunky or go further for a smooth sauce.  [caption id="attachment_437" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Softened Garlic"]Softened Garlic[/caption] Now, press on the garlic cloves and let the soft garlic squish out.  Add this to the blender.  Do the same thing with the onion, if you left the skin on… it’s pretty cool how it works the same way!  Add this to the blender too and whiz for a minute to blend everything.
 
 
 
 
Add your diced zucchini or squash to the pot and cover with the puree.  Bring the pot back to a simmer for 10 minutes.  If you are serving your sauce with pasta, now is the time to drop it into the water. Serve. Optional add in’s: a few carrots ½ cup leftover carrot soup ½ cup pureed greens ½ cup sundried tomatoes (you can toss these in at blending time if you have a Vitamix, otherwise let them soften with the other veggies while the pot is simmering.) This is how I enjoyed the sauce.  Post and let me know what you serve it with! [caption id="attachment_438" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Portobella caps with 30 Minute Sauce over greens"]Portobella caps with 30 Minute Sauce over greens[/caption]

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creativecalligraphy

Chopped Garden Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

This salad is great for a quick dinner but is equally lovely for a potluck or picnic.  It is super easy to change out the veg to things you have on hand.  The peppers can be any color, though the red and orange brighten up the plate beautifully.  Try summer squash, zucchini or celery in addition or in place of the cucumber.  I used fresh greens from our garden and mixed in some dinosaur kale.  If you have reluctant kale eaters, this dish is a winner because the bold and creamy flavors of the bean/veg mix really cover the kale and make it magically blend in with other greens.  Start with a bit of kale if you're not used to it, but definitely give it a try.  I used to wonder how people could eat kale, but now it's probably my favorite green!  Arugula, beet greens, frisee, endive, romaine, radicchio... they all work really well with this salad.  It's hard to go wrong! You'll find that the flavors in the bean/veg portion of this dish get better on the 2nd day... so if you have leftovers, you're in for a treat!  With time to plan ahead you can prep this the day before you plan to eat it so you'll have that intense garlicky flavor throughout. Also, the dressing is great on other things as well.  Because of the avocado the benefits of some healthy whole food fats... a nice option for those who might normally choose a processed creamy style dressing or ranch dressing. [caption id="attachment_419" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Chopped Garden Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing"]Chopped Garden Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing[/caption] Chopped Garden Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing (makes 4 generous servings) Dressing: 1 large ripe tomato, skinned and quartered (if you're using a Vitamix leave the skin on) 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 shallot, minced ½ cup cilantro 2 avocado or 1 cup “wholly guacamole” juice of ½ a lime ¼ tsp black pepper pinch of salt ¼-½ tsp ground chipotle pepper, optional Salad: 6 cups fresh greens (1 use 2 cups of greens per adult, 1 cup per child) 1 English cucumber, diced 1 orange pepper, diced 1 red pepper, diced 3 cups cooked black beans, (drained and rinsed if using canned beans) Make the dressing by putting all dressing ingredients into your food processor and blending until smooth.  Taste and adjust for heat if you like --- add ¼- ½ tsp chipotle pepper if you like things spicy. Next, dice your veggies and mix them with the cooked beans.  Toss with the dressing and set aside so the flavors combine. Tear or cut your greens into bite sized pieces.  When you’re plating, you can either lay down a bed of greens and top it with the veg mixture or mix everything together and put the tossed chopped salad onto the plates.  My family naturally mixes their veg in with their greens as soon as they dig in, but I admit that the plates look prettier if you put down the greens first and top them… but that’s just aesthetics!  If you are not serving this right away definitely keep the greens separate until you're ready to serve.  For portion sizes, I use 1 cup of the bean/veg mixture for each adult and 1/2-3/4 cup per child. Enjoy!

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creativecalligraphy

Vegan Brown Rice “Risotto” and Greens

I confess, I used to love cheese.  Back in the day, I enjoyed more than my share of pizza and I admit to having an affair with feta one summer.  Risotto was something that was easy to make and scrumptious to eat because it satisfied both vegetarian and non alike.  But that was then!  Cheese really hurts me now and anything that hurts just isn't worth having.  While I don't miss the cheese, I do love things with a creamy texture and that hint of salty goodness that pairs well with a great glass of wine and some fresh bitter greens.  I toyed around with a few different rices and quinoa (quinoa is a great high protein sub for brown rice in this dish, BTW, though you have to adjust the liquid way down), and my kids like the brown rice the best both for the slightly chewy bite and the nutty flavor. What's nice is that this pan of delight, when dished up and on the table is about $1 a serving when you have the greens fresh from the garden and tomatoes a plenty!  The indulgence is the Daiya, which at nearly $5.50 for 2 cups, is only a sometimes treat on my menu.  If you haven't tried Daiya yet I recommend it.  It is the first vegan cheese I've had that melts well and stretches and doesn't taste like glue!  The Daiya cheddar is versatile and adds that bit of cheesy umph that some dishes need. Great 1 cup add-in's per your palate: diced mushroons, peas, asparagus, red pepper, artichoke, minced kale, spinach Leftover risotto can be shaped into patties or croquettes, coated in gluten free breadcrumbs (or panko if you're not GF) and baked in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until crisp.  Truly lovely served with artichoke hearts and raw baby spinach.  Consider this a two-fer!  Enjoy! (and let me know what you think if you try it!) [caption id="attachment_408" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Vegan Brown Rice Risotto"]Vegan Brown Rice Risotto[/caption] Vegan Brown Rice “Risotto” (40 min, serves 4-6 as entrée w/salad) 2 cups brown rice 1 cup dry white wine 6 cups vegetable broth 1 onion, minced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp olive oil 1 cup Daiya Cheddar shredded vegan “cheese” ½ cup almond milk pepper, to taste 2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced ¼ cup fresh sage or basil, minced Heat your olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the onion and garlic.  Stir to coat with the oil and let them work over medium low heat for a few minutes.  You will smell them and they will become soft without browning. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat it with the oil, onion and garlic.  Turn the heat up to medium high and pour in the white wine.  Cook until the wine evaporates, then add 2 cups of broth.  Stir well and leave the pan for a few minutes.  You will be stirring frequently to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom or burn.  However, this is not as labor intensive as traditional risotto because it doesn’t require constant stirring.  Plan on adding 2 cups of broth, stirring and checking the pan several times before the next broth addition.  You don’t want the rice to do dry in between additions of broth, so watch your pan and add the 2nd dose of broth while the rice is a bit saucy.  I checked the pan every 8-10 minutes and that was perfect, but you will need to get a handle on your stovetop to know what is the perfect balance for you. Add the 3rd and final dose of broth along with the daiya cheese and stir well to combine.  The cheese will make the sauce very creamy.  Daiya contains enough salt that you will not need to add additional salt. After 10 minutes or so, check the texture of the rice by tasting a bite.  If it is cooked, you can stir in the almond milk and shut off the heat.  If it is not, continue cooking for a few more minutes, check it again and then proceed with the almond milk. Season with pepper and serve topped with the tomato and herbs. *To make this a great meal serve this alongside a salad of fresh greens.  I especially love arugula and endive with this because they have such a bright bite to them! [caption id="attachment_409" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Arugula, Escarole, Endive, Basil and Tomato"]Arugula, Escarole, Endive, Basil and Tomato[/caption]

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Quick Chickpea Portobello Ragout

Quick Chickpea Portobello Ragout (Serves 4 as a main dish with salad or 8 as an app) ~ ready in about 15 minutes ~ Quick Chickpea Portobello Ragout Warm or cold, this ragout is scrumptious.  My 5 year old requested that I make this for dinner every night from now on! LOL!  What I love it that this comes together in a flash with a rich flavor that works just as well on top of greens as it does over polenta.  Chill it down and you’ve got a great topper for bruschetta using your GF bread of choice or try chilled polenta squares or even cucumber cups! Leftovers make a good vegan wrap filling because the sauce gets thicker as it chills.  YUM, yum and yum… You can go with some pantry shortcuts if needed --- sub canned or boxed fire roasted tomatoes and canned chickpeas for fresh.  If you make these subs, omit the salt until you can give everything a taste so you don’t end up with an overly salty dish. 3 jumbo Portobello caps, diced, about 2 cups 1 onion, diced, about 1 cup 4 cloves garlic, minced 3 small zucchini, diced, about 2 cups pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper ½ cup dry white wine 3 gorgeous tomatoes, diced, about 2 cups 2 cups cooked chickpeas 1 Tbsp veg broth powder + 2 cups water or 2 cups veg broth 2 Tbsp tapioca starch + ¼ cup cold water 4 -6 cups raw baby spinach or kale  Grab your wooden spoon and get ready for some quick work! Toss your mushrooms, onion, garlic and zucchini into a hot sauté pan and stir, stir, stir!  We’re not using any oil in this recipe, so we need to rely on the heat to draw some liquid out of the zucchini pretty quickly.  As things start to sear, throw in a pinch of salt to coax the liquid out of the veg and keep stirring until that garlic is fragrant.  We’re about 5 minutes in at this point and I need you to pour in the wine and deglaze the pan by using the edge of a wooden spoon to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Add your tomatoes, chickpeas and broth/broth powder + water.  Stir to combine.  Cover and let this simmer for 8 minutes.  While the ragout is simmering pull out your bowls and divide the greens among them.  If you’re using kale, tear it into bite size pieces so it’s easy to eat with the veg.  Reluctant to try kale?  Before putting it into the bowls, give the torn pieces a really thorough massage with about a tsp of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a clove of crushed garlic.  Something magical happens to kale when you give it a good rub.  I can’t guarantee you’ll love it right out of the gate, but I can say that this preparation got me eating more kale in the beginning!  Maybe it will work for you too. Let’s get back to business… Uncover the ragout and bump up the heat a bit.  Pour in the tapioca starch slurry and stir.  The heat will get the sauce bubbling and things will thicken up quickly.  If your ragout gets too stiff, add ½ cup of water and stir to loosen it up.  Otherwise, turn off the heat and you’re set to plate.   Scoop 1 cup portions on top of the greens you’ve already plated.  You’re good to go!

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Lentil Sloppy Joes v.2

Lentil Sloppy Joes
Simplified and modified from version 1, but just as yummy!  Because I am in love with the new bottle of pomegranate molasses on my shelf, I had to incorporate it in this recipe.  It makes perfect sense because the flavor is both sharp and sweet.  Start to finish about an hour.  Try this if you want a warm, richly layered and flavorful, spice laden meal.  Serves 6-8.  Using you food processor or mad knife skills, mince the following: 1 large onion, minced 4 cloves garlic, minced 8 oz Portobello mushrooms, minced 1 large green pepper, minced (organic if possible)
 
Add the minced veggies to a large stockpot in which you’ve warmed a tsp of olive oil.  Stir the veg while they brown and soften, about 10 minutes.  They will become super fragrant. [caption id="attachment_354" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="minced veg for sloppy joes"]minced veg for sloppy joes[/caption] Blend: 4 medool dates, pitted 1 can diced fire roasted tomato 1/2 cup Annies Organic Tomato Ketchup Blend these ingredients in the food processor until smooth.  Add the mixture into the pot and stir to combine. Add: 1 cup brown lentils (+ 1/2 cup if you don't use the red lentils below) 1/2 cup red lentils (optional, but they thicken the sauce in a way that the brown lentils don't) 3 cups water 2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses 1 tsp chipotle chili powder 2 Tbsp smoked paprika 2 Tbsp cumin 1 Tbsp cinnamon 1 Tbsp cocoa powder Stir the pot and simmer for 30 minutes until the lentils are till tender and the liquid is absorbed.  [caption id="attachment_353" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Lentil Sloppy Joes v2"]Lentil Sloppy Joes v2[/caption] If you're going old school, split the roll of your choice and toast both sides in a dry skillet.  Then slather some vegan mayo on the toasty pieces, top with a scoop of lentils and a piece of rice cheese or daiya shreds.  You can forego the bun and serve your sloppy lentil ragout on a plate with a side of steamed broccoli and a few big handfuls of fresh greens.  You can also pair a scoop of this goodness with a bowl of nutty brown rice or fluffy herbed quinoa or as a topper for polenta.  I can easily see stretching leftovers with the addition of some smoky black beans and corn on the cob.  Whatever you do, do it with love and enjoy every bite knowing that you are fueling your body well!  Make the meal even better --- don't forget your greens!

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