real raw kitchen: August 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

RECIPE: orange basil dressing

This is another very basic salad dressing I use regularly. I sometimes forget that I have all these fabulous dressing recipes that are used very often in my kitchen ... then when I realize that I've been sitting on them and not sharing them with YOU I jump to a computer to type it out right away. 

It's so important to me to make salad fun and enjoyable. I mention this often. And so, having that stance on salad, I have LOTS of different variations and recipes.

And this, my friends, is a favorite.

I love using this with steamed buttercup squash. It compliments the flavors nicely, combines well in the tummy, and is very filling. Yeah plants!

Orange Basil Dressing:
a recipe
1 orange, juiced
1 handful fresh basil
1 T miso paste
2 T nutritional yeast
water as needed

Combine everything in a blender and blend until completely smooth. You can also add garlic if you'd like, though I typically don't add these to my dressings only because I don't want garlic breath at work ... you know how that goes ...


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday: august 28, 2013

This past week I've laid off the dessert train because it was getting a bit pricey... A pound of cashews makes for an incredible cheesecake but it also makes for an expensive grocery run. So I've backed off a bit to focus on simple, whole foods that are actually healthful (because let's be real, no raw cheesecake is actually good for you). 

So I've gotten back to the au naturel route and I'm so glad I have. There's less stress with experimentation-gone-wrong and less stress on the wallet. Many people eat simply as a sort of "cleanse" but I don't really like the whole cleansing idea for raw foodies ... I eat pretty clean and the only thing that needs cleansing from time to time is my attitude. But when I eat pure, simple, whole foods I can feel the difference in my digestion, my sleep, my mood, and my energy levels. It's incredible. When I tone down the fancy foods I find that I actually adhere to a more 801010 lifestyle. I do not like sticking to an 801010 approach for the long haul because I really enjoy eating healthy fats (and my skin thanks me, too) but I can easily say that 5 days out of the week, and especially on these eat-simply kicks, I gravitate toward an 801010 lifestyle more easily.

So ... if you're looking at my pics of my food for the past week and thinking  "...THAT'S IT?!" then I totally get it. It's simple. It's a lot of fruits and veggies (though that ain't new). And it's probably a bit simpler than most people would fathom eating on any given day. But I challenge you to try it on for size!! I can promise you with almost certainty that you will be astounded by the changes your mind and body go through!

Fruit. It's no secret that I love fruit. And one of the redeeming qualities of Miami is that there is almost unlimited access to deliciously ripe fruit year round. This particular fruit is "Mamey". When it is ripe it is outta this world ... if you ever get the chance to try some, I suggest you do so immediately.

 Mango Dressing. True to 801010 fashion I made a dressing out of mangoes. One juicy mango, one tomato (seeds scooped out) and a handful of fresh basil blended just until chunky. Pour this over some crisp lettuce, add 1/4 of an avocado and a ton of other veggies and you've got such a refreshing and wholesome lunch!

 Mango "Juice". I've been collecting ripe mangoes by the bag-fulls and so I've made lots of "juice". In tropical cultures, and especially in Miami, "juice" is what they call fruits blended with water. Whenever I hear someone referring to this as "juice" I find myself fighting back the annoying urge to explain that it is not actually juice because juice is stripped of its fiber. Instead, this is a smoothie. But the several times I did explain this to someone I was met with blank stares and a vibe that read as "totally annoying". So I've stopped myself and just accepted the fact that I am drinking mango "juice" (though it's really just juicy mangoes blended with water).

 Figs. Figs are in season for what seems an extremely short period every year. At least they only show up sporadically at the end of summer here in Miami. So whenever I see them at the store I grab them and eat them for days. So I've had a lot of fig-cakes,-puddings,-smoothies,-etc.

Gold Goddess Dressing. 4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, 1 orange (juiced), 1/2 lemon (juiced), a couple tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of miso ... blend and pour. This is a quick and easy dressing recipe that is low in fat and high in flavor.

Zucchini Noodles. The end of summer is always wrought with the overproduction of zucchini. If you do not live on a farm with your own vegetable garden, and you never have, then you may not understand the pleasure that is also the nuisance of the overproduction of zucchini. These little-guys turn into monstrous-guys by the end of the summer and take over the vegetable garden. So, now that I do not live with my parents and therefore do not live with a garden, I feel like the end of summer is perfect time to pretend there is an overabundance of zucchini in order to pay tribute to my garden-life upbringing. So I've made noddles out of loads of zucchinis and dressed them with almost any sauce I can think of. And it's delicious.

What do you think about this approach to food? Have you ever taken a break?


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

RECIPE: almond fig cheesecake

I have not kept my love for figs a secret and if you follow me on my Instagram page then you will notice that I declare my love for them quite often. Well, as it happens, my love for figs often results in a kitchen littered with plump figs, so many that I don't even know what to do with them.

  So naturally I made a fig cheesecake.

A fruit like the fig is so fun to work with. It is the ultimate test in patience, for me, because they are often unripe at the grocery store and are more like hard little stones when I bring them home. I must wait patiently for them to slowly ripen until they are squishy to the touch and a beautiful and magnificent red on the inside. The more you let them ripen the more you are rewarded for your patience as the flavor only becomes creamier and sweeter. (as a side note, unripened figs are awful).

I know that in traditional dishes almonds and figs go together very well. I use almonds regularly and I knew this would be such an easy experiment for me: an almond fig cheesecake can only turn out good!

I shared it with my colleagues and they seemed to enjoy the flavor, admitting that the figs gave it such a distinctly unique and earthy flavor. The figs actually tone down the sweetness of the cheesecake and make it more like an adult treat to be had with coffee on a stormy afternoon.

Basic Crust:
a recipe
1/2 cup almonds, soaked
3 medjool dates, soaked
2 T coconut oil
1/8 t sea salt

Pit and peel the dates and then combine everything in a food processor. Pulse until chunky and sticky. Dump out into a 6" springform pan or two 4" pans. Press down until even. Set aside.

**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

Almond Fig Cheesecake:
a recipe
1/2 cup cashews, soaked
1/4 cup maple syrup (non raw)
1/4 cup coconut oil
4-5 ripe** black mission figs, stems removed
1/8 t almond extract
2-4 T water as needed for blending

Place everything in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Use a tamper to help facilitate blending. If you are not using figs for garnish, then pour over the crust and spread until even. Place in the freezer to set for a couple hours, and then move to the fridge. If using garnish, see below.

Garnish (optional)
1-2 ripe** black mission figs, thinly sliced

After pressing down the crust, line the pan with the sliced figs. Then pour the cheesecake filling over the crust. Place in the freezer to set for a couple hours, then move to the fridge.

**it is very important to use fully ripened figs for this recipe. If it is not squishy to the touch then it may not provide the depth of flavor that is best in ripe figs.

It also makes for a beautiful presentation, which obviously I dig. What do you think?? Let me know if you make it!


**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Recipe Round-Up: end of summer

The dreaded time has come for summer to end. For me, that means longer work hours and less time at home to slowly take in the pure joy that is preparing my food. When school begins I spend a lot more time on food prep for days at a time and I spend relatively little time getting creative in the kitchen, at least during the week.

For many of you, however, this means getting the kids off to school and hoping to prepare something healthy along the way. The hardest part about the beginning of any new schedule is always the transition. Once you're acclimated to the new routine then it's much easier to take over.

Until then: mayhem. 

So I've gathered a handful of recipes that make food prep much easier and allow for happy kiddos at the same time. Little snacks that taste like dessert (but are actually healthy) and then also dinner/lunch options that are easy to throw together and pack away, as needed. 

The addictive and easy dressing recipe is my favorite recipe of all time. I make it regularly and use it on many of my salads. It's always delicious and it's so easy to make your own. It's not just for salad, either. It's a good sauce for anything you want to be saucy.

Take what you want, save the others for the weekend, and always know this:

Fruit is the ultimate fast food.

Do not ever feel pressured to pack something uber-gourmet. What is the use when cut fruit is easy, delicious, sweet, affordable, and filling? It's always packed with nutrients and does wonderful things for the body. Do not underestimate the power of fruits and veggies. 

How are your first weeks of school going?? What kinds of healthy snacks do YOU pack??


Friday, August 23, 2013

RECIPE: simple noodle salad and the mandolin

A raw kitchen will likely have lots of little gadgets to help you get creative with your food. The problem with this is that it can run up the tab on your kitchen tools. I don't know about you but I can hardly afford to have the nicest tools on the market, let alone all the tools on the market. So I've found ways to get creative, or simply use the cheap versions only to find they work just as well!

(the only exception is the Vitamix. It is, unequivocally, the best big purchase I've ever made. And they currently have an increased selection of reconditioned blenders for significantly less!)

I am often asked about what tools I use in order to create certain dishes. I'm fortunate enough to have a small collection of fancy gadgets in my kitchen, but I thought I'd introduce you to a few gadgets just in case you haven't had the pleasure of using them for yourself, already.

Let me introduce you to the Mandolin. It is such a neat and affordable gadget that is easy to use and can be used in many different facets. I like to make noodles with it, sometimes, and also make slices when I'm layering fruit or making dehydrated chips. It allows you to quickly slice up your food without worrying about whether or not you've made even slices.

For this particular dish I was feeling drawn to the mandolin, as opposed to the usual spiralizer, and so I quickly sliced and shredded my veggies for this amazingly simple and delicious meal. I served it with a garlic-tahini-zucchini sauce and sprinkled nutritional yeast over it.

Simple Noodles:
a method
2 large zucchinis
1 large carrot

Using a mandolin (carefully) shred your veggies using the thinnest slots available. Below is the mandolin that I use in my kitchen and it works perfectly. Please be careful, we've had some mandolin accidents in our kitchen, so go slowly!

Simple Cheezy Sauce:
a recipe
1 zucchini, chopped
2 T tahini
1/2 lemon, juiced
2-3 T nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic
 2-4 T water

Combine everything in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Pour over the noodles and mic until coated. Top the noodle with a little bit more nutritional yeast for some extra cheezy flavor!

**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

RECIPE: raw pasta marinara with grated parmesan

For some reason I was craving this dish for an entire week. So when I finally got to it you can only imagine how excited I was. Everything came together so beautifully that it made this dish even more special. 

There's something so special about fresh and ripe food. Preparing food becomes so much more meaningful when working with whole foods. The fragrant smells of the basil, oregano, garlic ... it fills my kitchen and my heart. I become transported into another time and place whenever I'm preparing a meal.

 The washing, the drying, the chopping, the spiralizing, the grating ... and then that moment when it all comes together and looks just as beautiful as it tastes... it's just such a wonderfully peaceful experience for me. So many people ask me, "but isn't it so hard to eat that way?" Nope. Not at all. Because to me this food is a healing experience, a beautiful form of art that serves as a way to express myself creatively.

And that is a beautiful thing.

Basic Marinara Sauce:
a recipe
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3-4 sundried tomatoes, soaked and chopped
1 clove garlic
1 T fresh oregano
1 T fresh basil
sea salt and pepper to taste

Blend everything on high until smooth. Pour into a strainer placed over a bowl and let it drain while you work on your zucchini. I used a spiralized zucchini for this dish, but you can use any veggie and make it into a pasta, if you'd like.

Easy Raw Parmesan:
a recipe
1 Brazil Nut

I'm not even kidding with this. Just grate one Brazil Nut over your pasta and voila!!

Wondering how I made the noodles? I ran one zucchini through a spiralizer like this one:

**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

Try it out and let me know what you think!!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday: august 21, 2013

This past week my boo has been out of the country (on a "work" trip in Spain ... I'm still dying at how amazing that is) and so he has therefore been out of the kitchen. Which I love. Don't get me wrong, I love him and his quirky presence, but homegirl loves a free kitchen as well.

So what has happened? I've created quite a few masterpieces. And if not masterpieces then at the very least I've had so much time to explore different flavors and combinations. 

Zucchini noodles with marinara sauce. And grated Parmesan. This is an impressive and simple (and impressively simple) dish FTW. The grated Brazil Nut over the noodles takes it above and beyond any other noodle dish I've had.

 Cherry Garcia Ice Cream Bars. This was an accident. And I was so disappointed. I meant to make brownies and then somehow these ice cream bars were created. But then what I realized that my accident was nothing short of a miracle.

 Melon Smoothie. I love Canary Melons and whenever I see them I get so excited. Have you ever had a blended or juiced canary melon?? It's a game changer.

 Almond Fig Cheesecake. I made these for a couple special women in my office. I wanted to play with figs and so I used them in this dessert. I thought it made for a tasty and beautiful treat.

 801010 truffles. What makes them 801010? Well it's only two ingredients: dried figs and cacao. So good and so easy.

 Papaya Smoothie. Papaya is among the top 5 fruits that I love enjoying as often as possible ... only behind mango, banana, cherries, and figs. I love blending papaya with fresh lime and then slurping with goji berries. So fresh and delicious.

 Strawberry Tartlette. I'm obsessed with dried figs being used instead of nuts any chance I get and so I often replace them in things like crusts and energy balls. I filled this crust with a strawberry jam of sorts, fresh strawberries, and coconut cream.

Green Juice. I've been having green juice pretty religiously every morning for a couple weeks now (versus having them every couple days) and I am loving it. It is so filling and feels so good. Also, I'm not one to tout "clear skin" as a result of my eating as I happen to believe your skin is more like a window to your soul than your stomach ... but my skin has been pretty calm and clear since I've started this habit. Whether it's the green juice feeding my cells or the green juice feeding my soul .. I don't care. My skin loves it!

That's it. And who says eating healthy is boring?? Who?? Then that just means they're doing it wrong!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

RECIPE: guava cheesecake

It was my father-in-law's birthday this weekend, so I jumped at the opportunity to create something delectable. My in-laws hail from tropical countries and have spent most of their lives here in Miami. So tropical fruit is the go-to treat in their household. So when I sent my birthday wishes I also asked if there was anything in particular he'd like on his special day. The request? 

"Anything with guava in it."

I have to admit I wasn't exactly excited about this challenge, but I accepted it nonetheless. The "guava" that is so popular here is actually hardly guava at all. It's actually more like a gelatinized guava-ish block of sugar that is usually served with a slice of cheese. It's a real treat here that many people enjoy, and for good reason. The pair together is a unique and oddly delicious dessert that somehow just works. This block of sugar-guava, though, is the only guava experience I have had thus far. So I wasn't quite sure how to even work with guava, what flavors it paired with, or (admittedly) what it even looked like in the whole fruit form.

So I went to the one place I knew (okay, assumed) had guava, Palacios de los Jugos, because, well, it's about as tropical a place you can get without actually leaving the U.S. I filled a bag with the fragrant fruit and hoped that I had grabbed the right one (I Google-checked the fruit once I got home).

Luckily, I had grabbed the right fruit. From there, the rest was history. I wanted to mimic the traditional guava and cheese combo with a guava cheesecake, but raw-ified. It worked easily and made for a beautiful dessert. This was a lightly flavored cheesecake with a strong guava layer that tied everything together.

And if you live in any other part of the country (or non-tropical climate) and do not have access to guava, swap it out for raspberries or strawberries! Just as delicious and pretty.

Basic Crust:
a recipe
3 cups almonds, soaked
1 cup dates, soaked
2 T coconut oil
1 T vanilla
1 t sea salt

Pit and peel the dates. Put everything in a food processor and pulse until crumbly and sticky. Press into the bottom of an 8" springform pan and set aside.

Basic Cheesecake Filling:
a recipe
3 cups cashews, soaked
1 lemon, juice and zest
3/4 cup maple syrup (non raw)
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
Up to a 1/4 cup of water, if necessary to facilitate blending

Place everything in a high speed blender and blend until completely smooth. Use the tamper to facilitate blending, as needed. Pour over the crust, smooth out with a spatula, and set in the freezer for an hour or so to set. It needs to be set enough to withstand the final guava layer.

Guava Filling:
a recipe
1 cup cashews
3 ripe guavas, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup (non raw)
1/4 cup coconut oil

Blend everything in a high speed blender until smooth. Use a tamper as needed to help facilitate blending. Pour over the cheesecake layer and set in the freezer to set for a few hours.

I topped it with some coconut cream and shaved guava. It was creamy and the overall flavor was such a delicate balance between the cheesecake and the guava.

YUM! It is an incredibly dense dessert so share with (many) others. Or, cut the recipe in a half or by a third to make a smaller version.

Monday, August 19, 2013

weekend wanderer: a weekend alone

I'm very much an introvert so at any given moment I'd rather be alone than be in the presence of someone, anyone. I can't help it. It's who I am. I love being quiet and I love exploring things quietly. People, in general, usually disturb the peace when they begin talking. And unfortunately for me that is a very normal thing to do, talk. For me, however, I love enjoying things on my own and quietly.

My fiance has been away on a business trip in Spain ( ... I know. How incredible is that??) and so I've been spending a lot of my time alone. I've not necessarily been sitting at home alone, but I've been doing things alone for the entire trip he's been away. We check in with each other everyday and then I continue on enjoying my time, quietly. It sounds boring to so many people, and I get it, but to me it's just glorious.

Well, this weekend I took complete advantage of my alone time. I made zero effort to fill my time with chatter and friends, like I normally would, and purposefully kept to myself. I just wrote a bit on self-care and how important it is. For me, this is a substantial move toward self-care as it resets everything within me, to the core.

When I get caught up being busy in life it becomes hard for me to re-center and find myself within the chaos. With my many roles that I'm juggling right now I begin to feel like I'm being pulled in many directions, like a medieval form of torture. Employee, teacher, friend, daughter, partner, daughter in law, wedding planner, blogger ... many of the roles I enjoy but sometimes they all get demanding all at once and that is when I put major brakes on my life for the sake of this self-care. I practice a lot of self-care in the form of many different activities but for me, the single greatest "reset" button is always alone time.

So what did I do? Lots of things, but I ended each day with a walk outside. The most grounding thing for me is to walk in nature (or as close to it as possible) as the sun is setting, or just after. This weekend I walked and walked and walked along the beach, over a bridge, around the neighborhood, and on a boardwalk. It is exactly what I needed.

What is the most grounding form of self-care that you practice? And what kinds of views do YOU see on your walks??


Saturday, August 17, 2013

how-to: self care

I'm big on self-care and I mention it all the time. I firmly believe that you absolutely cannot be the best mother, wife, partner, father, child, employee, student, friend, boss, whatever if you haven't first taken care of yourself.

I teach Psychology courses at night and every semester in every single class I always spend a lecture on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. I always spend a great deal of time on this area because a lot of my students are not just students. The role "student" is an addition to the many other roles they have. So I find that it is impossible for many of them to be the best student possible if many of their other roles are struggling for success, as well. The main role that I always focus on is the self because that is the core for everything else.

Abraham Maslow is one of my favorite psychologists. This is really saying something because I feel like I idolize many theorists and I get excited talking about anything related to Psychology. But I love Maslow because he legitimized self-care, and for that he automatically climbed the ranks and made his way to the top along with Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby (THE Attachment theorists that Attachment Parenting came from).

His main idea is that your well being is like a pyramid. You cannot move to the top of the pyramid if you first do not pay attention to the foundation. So, starting from the bottom, it is important to pay special attention to your basic human physiological needs.

Meaning, do you eat food that nourishes you? 
Do you move your body the way it was meant to be moved? 
Do you get good sleep and enough of it? 
Do you drink enough water? 
Do you go to the bathroom regularly? 
And yes, do you have a healthy sex life? (not to say, "are you having sex?" But more, are you paying attention to your sexuality and sexual needs and then honoring them)

Before even moving up the pyramid I always spend a great deal of time on this first level. How many people truly feed themselves well, sleep enough, drink enough water, and move their bodies? Do YOU? I know I struggle with this, even with how important it is to me, mainly because during the day I sit at a desk for 8 hours. This is not the way to treat a body!

If you have skipped a meal, or eaten McDonald's on the run, or gotten less than a full night's rest, or you're constipated ... then you cannot possibly be the best version of yourself simply because your basic needs are not met.

It's that simple.

This is the idea as you move up the rest of the pyramid. You cannot possibly be the best employee, mother, or partner if you cannot care for your basic needs, and then safety needs (i.e., do you have a decent roof over your head??), relationship needs, and so on. 

It's impossible to take time to focus on your self-esteem and self-worth if you are first ignoring the self.

So. This is why I am always touting self-care. When the core foundations of my self are neglected I notice myself getting impatient with the people I'm serving and a little snappy at my partner. I notice that my self-esteem plummets and my focus disappears into the distant clouds. When these things begin to happen I take a full day on the weekends to do whatever the f*ck I want because that really is self-care. Luckily, my idea of self-care is healthy ... I don't mean to imply doing-whatever-the-eff-you-want means getting lit and running wild!

Self-care can mean a multitude of things, but to me, these are the things that I do (not all at once!) that help me find that balance:
  1. Massage. Every once in awhile I'll get a massage. I love Massage Envy because it's a quality massage at a decent price and they mostly have availability anytime I need.
  2. Sleep in. I rarely sleep in because I feel like you waste the best part of your day but sometimes it's just so special to curl up in the sheets and let the sun shine on you as you snooze on.
  3. Mani/pedi. This may not apply to you but it definitely works for me. Feeling pampered and special and pretty all for $20?? Score.
  4. Bike rides. I love riding my bike anywhere and everywhere. I don't always do it because the heat here and the crazy drivers here make it less than enjoyable sometimes. But when it's right, it feels so good to move my blood and muscles, and do it gently.
  5. Mini road trips. My favorite way to feel like I'm doing something exciting is to leave this city and see something better different. Just a day in another part of South Florida and I come back feeling a restored hope in humanity.
  6. Special meal. Sometimes I make something extra special to make the day feel like it's all mine. A special meal really does do the body good.
  7. Hit the books. Books are the best thing you can do for your creativity and soul. It's an intellectual way to escape to another world and reset your mood. I love it. It's like an active meditation.
  8. Meditate. I don't mean sit on your tush for hours and thinking about nothing, though I'd love to reach that sometime. But I mean, take a few minutes each day to take some deep breaths and just focus on how you're feeling. Notice it, acknowledge it, and make peace with it. Boom. You've just meditated. Plus, it's actually really good for you (even science supports this).
  9. Walking. I have a Pitta dosha which means connecting with nature in the evenings is probably one of the best ways to ground myself. And I have to say, when I do this I feel a thousand times better. Not an exaggeration. I really feel a thousand times better than I did before an evening walk.
  10. Gentle Exercise. And I mean gentle. I love exercising and I usually am pretty hard core about it. But what I began to notice was that it only added to my stress and wasn't taking away from it, like it normally would. That is because sometimes we go into exercise with this mindset that we have to, we have to be better, feel better, look better. And then we beat ourselves up when we inevitably are not. Instead, I stopped that cycle and began looking at exercise as a way to relax. Long walks, gentle yoga, bike rides, even ridiculously unskilled games of tennis and basketball count. I'm a runner but I've paused my running because of the aforementioned heat issues here in Miami, but when I'm feeling good and calm I like to run, too. Do YOU. Don't do and don't do the latest Victoria's Secret Angel workout. Do what feels good for you. 
Alright, it's time to get this booty outside in the sunshine. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend and PLEASE, share with me your favorite self-care tricks!!


Friday, August 16, 2013

compliment your chef

hehe ...

RECIPE: cherry garcia ice cream bars

I have a friend that is allergic to nuts and as a raw dessert enthusiast I rarely bring over a dessert without nuts. I usually beg for forgiveness and promise him I will one day bring him a dessert that he can enjoy. That one day never comes and then I feel guilty all over again as I debut yet another nut-filled dessert.

Until now.

I have finally gotten my act together and created a simple recipe with seeds.

This recipe is like a two-fer. You get all this information about hemp seeds (which you then get to indulge in) AND you get chocolatey ice cream goodness. The shining ingredient in these bars are hemp and so before we get straight to the recipe let's spend a few minutes glorifying this magical plant.

Hemp seeds are a real power house when it comes to nutrition. If you're familiar at all with these little guys then you probably are aware that they are most recognized for their protein content (1 oz. has 10 g of protein!!). In fact, my hubby sprinkles hemp seeds on almost anything, hoping to glean some of this protein content (he also loves the nutty and slightly salty flavors). However, what most people don't really know is that they are incredible nutrition sources for even more reasons.

Hemp goes beyond just the protein needed to build muscle mass. Protein is actually an important building block for our neurological and biological development. The protein in hemp seeds is a near-perfect makeup of the essential proteins and essential fatty acids needed in order to thrive. With an EFA count like that it automatically becomes a sort-of-superfood!

Hemp seeds are also great sources of Vitamin E and Vitamin K. These are great builders for your skin, heart, and blood. Hemp is also a great source of magnesiumcalcium, potassium, iron, and zinc.


In fact, David Wolfe calls them the "superfood of the future" in his book, Superfoods (2009). On top of everything else, it is also a great source of Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA), which is a known anti-inflammatory and helps balance hormones. It can help with hormonal issues, reduce PMS symptoms (um, hello) and even level out mood swings.

Ladies: this chocolate indulgence is for YOU!

Cherry Garcia Ice Cream Bars:
the ingredients
1  cup shelled hemp seeds (soaked for 30 minutes)
1 1/2 cup cherries, pitted
1/4 cup + 2 T raw cacao powder
1/4 cup maple syrup (non raw)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
water as need to facilitate blending

Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth. If you do not have a high powered blender, blend the cherries with the maple syrup and a couple tablespoons of water first to break them down. Then add the remaining ingredients.

Pour into a baking dish lined with plastic wrap. The baking dish I used was about 4" x 6", so relatively small. Place in the freezer, covered, overnight. (I use these in the freezer to keep my goods covered) Do not add the chocolate layer until the bars are frozen completely ... add the chocolate ganache the next morning just to be safe.

**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

Chocolate Ganache:
a recipe
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup  coconut oil
3 T maple syrup (not raw)
1/4 t vanilla

Place everything in a small bowl and, using a fork, mix everything until well incorporated. If it is not perfectly smooth then continue to adjust your proportions until just right. Then pour your chocolate over the ice cream bars and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour to set before serving.

Important Tip: keep all of your tools completely dry while making the chocolate. Any moisture will cause the ingredients in the chocolate to seize and it will not be smooth enough to pour beautifully onto the bars!

Minerals found in Hemp Seeds

  • Phosphorous (energy and bone density)
  • Potassium (energy)
  • Magnesium (detox, muscle relaxing, mild laxative)
  • Sulfur (beauty and longevity)
  • Calcium (relaxes digestive tract and muscular system, removes toxins)
  • Iron (blood builder and oxygenator)
  • Manganese (blood builder and oxygenator)
  • Zinc (beauty mineral, supports skin and liver)
  • Sodium (beauty mineral, supports adrenals)
  • Silicon (beauty mineral, bone density)
  • Copper (part of vitamin C complex)
  • Platinum (an enzymatic master mineral)
  • Boron (calcium absorption, stabilizes hormones)
  • Nickel (enzyme metabolism)
  • Germanium (antiviral, immune support)
  • Tin (aids male pattern baldness)
  • Iodine (a thyroid mineral, helps with hypothyrodism)
  • Chromium (a pancreatic mineral)
  • Silver (antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial)
  • Lithium (an alkaline, mood-improving mineral)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

RECIPE: cheezy kale chips, nut free

I recently went back home and so was fretting over leaving an entire head of kale in the fridge, unattended (I didn't trust that my SO would actually ever get to it). So I finally made these kale chips, after years of "thinking about making kale chips", and I'm so glad that I did.

I took a little baggie (of what was left) onto the plane and munched on these for my would-be lunch. I'm just glad I even had any for the plane, I ate half of them as I was taking them out of the dehydrator and putting them into the bag, in the first place!

This was possibly one of the easiest things to do and felt a bit like I was dehydrating a salad. I made a simple dressing I'd probably use over fresh kale and then massaged the kale and then finally dehydrated all day. 

It was so easy to make, so easy to transport, and so easy to eat. I feel like everyone needs at least one recipe for kale chips in their repertoire and so if you don't have one yet, this is a great place to start.

 My favorite part: they're nut-free!

Cheezy, nut-free Kale Chips:
a recipe
1 bunch kale, washed, destemmed, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green onions
2-4 T water, as needed
1 T sea salt

Combine everything but the kale in a blender and blend until smooth. Next pour the dressing over your kale, in a bowl, and massage until thoroughly covered. Dehydrate at 105 degrees overnight, up to 12 hours. I made mine in the morning before work and then returned 12 hours later to the best snack possible ...

If you do not have a dehydrator, try them in your oven on the lowest setting until crisp, but not burnt.

YUM! The best part: it is nut free! Tahini, made from sesame seeds, is also packed with calcium. So these crispy little treats are just working wonders for your body!!


**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday: august 14, 2013

It seems that every Wednesday I always say "well I've had a lot of exciting things this week" .. but it's always true! (to me at least ...)

How is it exciting? Well for starters, this girl can rock a salad and so every single salad I have is just the best.salad.ever. Also, I've made some cool little treats that are drool worthy no matter who you are. And lastly, I've been on a green juice kick lately and I think it's because I've found the perfect ratio for my taste buds and energy levels. And when that happens .. it's magical.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies. The recipe is here and is one of the neatest things I've made. It's a totally different flavor than what I usually play with and because they are so cute and easy to pop in your mouth they are unusually addicting. 

Blueberry Kale Smoothie. I love blueberries and whenever I see them on sale or in an abnormally large container I make sure to get some. Then, as usual, I have a hard time keeping up with them so they inevitably end up in a massive smoothie. This one had a pint of blueberries, lots of kale, frozen bananas and nut mylk. I topped with some bee pollen for an extra boost. It was good.

Fruit. I wish you could really taste these nectarines. They were perfectly ripe and juicy and made the green juice shine. I had a monomeal of nectarines this week with a massive greenie and it was probably my favorite meal of the week.

Greens. As always, I have a massive salad every single day and sometimes twice a day. I crave them. If a day goes by where there are not an inordinate amount of greens involved I get a little sad and panicky.

Green Juice. Lots of it. The boo and I just watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead for the first time (I know, I know, I can't believe it took me that long to get to it, either) and I just felt so inspired to make my green juice consumption a lot more dedicated. What was even more inspiring was that my SO said the same, that he'd like to drink green juice daily, as well. And you know? So far both of us are very loyal greenies! (my fave combo, by the way, is 1 large cucumber, 2 gala apples, 1" ginger, 1 lemon, 1 lime, and 3-4 large leaves of kale blended with about a cup of water and strained through a mesh bag)

**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

More salad. Sometimes I love to add cooked quinoa to my salads. It adds an extra little something and is packed with benefits that raw fruits and veggies don't have. Sometimes I'll make a big pot of it at the beginning of the week and then scoop some out for lunch everyday, as needed. I mainly do this for the hubby since he "hates chewing grass" for lunch ... it breaks up the salad and makes it a bit heartier.

I feel I'm finally finding a nutritional rhythm that works for my body. One that keeps me fed, keeps a bit of meat on my bones, but also makes me feel really good. And that's what matters the most!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

RECIPE: raw lemon poppy seed cookies

I have a serious devotion to chocolate and so whenever I'm dreaming up sweets it usually involves chocolate. Then I draw a little picture of what I'm thinking about making and stare at the pages of doodles until I decide that-is-the-chocolate-I-must-have-right-now. Right before I head to the kitchen I usually show my doodles to my SO and ask a casual, "whaddya think??". The supportive man that he is, he usually just says "looks good!"

This time, however, he said, "please, please! No. More. Chocolate."

When he said this I retracted my doodles into my chest and looked at him, feeling deeply insulted. How dare he?? He, of course, laughed and explained himself, stating that I make so many desserts and most of them involve chocolate that he's afraid he's going to turn into a piece of chocolate!

After thinking about it for a minute I realized he was right. I needed to open up my repertoire and play with some other, lighter, flavors. Almost immediately the idea for these guys popped into my mind.

I love lemon and I love when it's used in sweet dishes. It is a star ingredient in any dish it's used but anytime it's a dessert it just tickles the taste buds in a way that makes you feel good, not guilty.

This recipe uses nut mylk pulp and a dehydrator. I realize not everyone makes their own nut mylk and not everyone has a dehydrator, so I've offered alternatives at the very bottom of this post. I haven't made the alternative version so be sure to follow your instincts and adjust as needed!!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookie:
a recipe
1 1/2 cups nut mylk pulp (or nut flour) **
1/4 cup + 2T maple syrup (non raw)
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/4 cup coconut shreds, unsweetened
1/4 t vanilla
1 T poppy seeds

Combine the wet ingredients in one bowl and mix thoroughly.  Place the dry ingredients in another bowl and mix together. Dump the contents of one bowl into another and mix with a spatula until thoroughly combined and a dough is formed.

To do:
  • Scoop out about a tablespoon of cookie batter and place on a dehydrator sheet. Flatten, if desired.
  • Dehydrate at 105 degrees overnight, up to 12 hours, until the desired consistency is achieved.
  • When you're ready to frost the cookies, make the frosting (recipe below).
  • Spread the frosting on the cookies, or if making balls, dip the balls in the frosting.
  • Sprinkle with poppy seeds, if desired.
  • Lay on a flat surface and place in the fridge until the frosting hardens.
  • Serve!

Lemon Frosting:
a recipe
2 T coconut butter, melted
1 T coconut oil, melted
1/2 lemon, juiced
poppy seeds for garnish (optional)

Make sure all your utensils (fork, bowl, etc) are completely dry. Any moisture added to this frosting will cause the mix to cease and it will results in a lumpy mixture instead of frosting. Mix ingredients, except the poppy seeds, in a bowl until the frosting is formed. Use the poppy seeds as garnish, if desired.

**NOTE: If you do not have a dehydrator but you'd like to make this, you could try replacing the nut pulp with fresh nuts, chopped in a food processor. Replace the maple syrup with date paste and mix everything as normal. Place in the freezer for a few hours to set and move to the fridge to keep. Also equally delicious and no dehydrator needed!