Veggie Stuffed Acorn Squash

 

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 Acorn squash cut in half with seeds removed

½ zucchini, diced

½ red pepper, diced

½ cup chickpeas

1 Tablespoon coconut oil, in liquid state

2 teaspoons curry powder

¼ teaspoon salt and pepper

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, bell pepper, chickpeas, coconut oil and seasonings. Arrange the squash halves cut-side-up on the baking sheet. If they are wobbly, you can slice the rounded bottoms off to give them a flat bottom to them stand on. Bake at 350 for an hour or until squash is tender. 

Posted on November 13, 2016 .

Creamy Avo Pesto + Zoodles

"I'm Too Hot to Cook"

...Says me every night these past few weeks. Which is good news for you because I've created the perfect recipe that requires no heat, no fuss, no sweat... get it? Haha!

Zoodles (spaghetti-style noodles made from zucchini squash), are a great way to add more veggies IN and scoot processed pasta further OUT of your diet. They're absolutely delicious and can be enjoyed raw or cooked depending on your dish, and in this case, the weather!

Raw foods are cooling and more hydrating to the body which make them perfect to enjoy throughout the summer months. So when you're hot, tired, and don't want to cook, make this recipe in under 10 minutes! (Rachel Ray would be so proud!)

For more information on how to make zucchini noodles, where to buy a spiralizer + a slew of recipes, check out inspiralized.com. Don't want to invest in a spiralizer yet? You can make this recipe with a julienne peeler too!

This dish is raw, vegan, gluten-free, and every bit delicious!

Creamy Avocado Pesto + Zoodles 

*Serves 2
2 medium zucchinis
1 ripe avocado
1 bunch fresh basil (or 1-cup packed)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 tap. pepper

Wash and peel (if not organic) your zucchinis and spiralize into noodles. Set aside. In your blender, mix the avocado, basil, garlic, water, lemon juice, and salt & pepper all together until smooth.

You want the sauce thick to stick to the noodles, however, you may need to add a teensy more water to get things moving - add water by the Tbsp. to avoid making it runny.

Combine sauce with zoodles and toss to full coat. Dish it out and enjoy!

Posted on August 3, 2015 .

Banana Ice 'Cream'

Ever been home on a Friday night craving ice cream something serious but there’s no hope of leaving to get it? Well my friends, if you simply always keep frozen bananas on hand, you will never again go unsatisfied (or regret eating the real thing loaded with refined sugar and mystery ingredients).

Bananas are naturally sweet and creamy making them the perfect base for a frozen treat. You can make this recipe with just bananas + mylk (nut, flax, oat, hemp, or any dairy-free ‘milk’) and it would be delicious as-is. But I think the fun comes from doctoring it up with whatever you want! This is a perfect dessert to make with kids and let them get creative with the flavors and toppings. Below is my go-to recipe but you can choose any ingredients you like! Let me know any yummy combos you come up with in the comments below!

Banana Ice Cream

Servings: 1 (multiply as needed)
Ingredients:
1 frozen banana, halved or chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes
Dash cinnamon

Other possible add-ins:
raw cacao powder, cacao nibs, coconut oil, other fruits, other nuts/seeds, sea salt, cayenne, cardamom, vanilla extract, granola, chia seeds, ginger, etc etc etc…

Directions:
Place banana and almond milk in blender and whip on the highest speed. After a few seconds it may not seem to be blending so take it off, open and give the mixture a swirl and blend again. You may have to do this 3 times or so. After the bananas are whipped, add in the PB, coconut, and cinnamon or whatever you choose to use. Blend and remove when combined. Pour mixture into a container/shallow bowl that allows the ice cream to freeze quickly – no more than 3 inches deep. Pop in the freezer and enjoy in 1 hour… if you can wait that long!

banana strip.jpg
Posted on April 1, 2015 .

RAWMAZEBALLS

…raw, amazing, energy balls!

Ingredients:
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup raw almond butter
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. raw honey
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp. sunflower seeds

*Add cinnamon or unsweetened coconut flakes to mix it up!

Directions:
Mix oats with almond butter first, then add coconut oil and honey. Afterwards, toss it all the seeds! Mix until thoroughly combined. Add some more oats if mixture feels too wet. Spoon out tablespoons’ worth and shape into a ball with clean hands. Repeat. Place on a plate and put in the fridge to ‘set’ for 30 minutes. Serve straight from fridge, chilled.

Enjoy!

Raw Veggie Spring Rolls + Peanut Sauce

These rolls are so fun to make! Perfect for a date night, an activity to do with kids, or as a Sunday night thrill in place of your weekly food prep. Even though you are getting your 5-a-day plus some, you will hardly realize it’s basically a salad in disguise. These raw veggie spring rolls are bursting with flavor and have limitless options for the types of fillings you can try. Please share any great variations you come up with in the comments below!

Because these are made with brown rice, you are getting all of the fiber, vitamins, and minerals that come along with the whole grain. The white rice variety has minimal nutrition and the quickly digested carb will spike your blood sugar.

Brown rice paper + quality ingredients = healthy swap for your take-out favorite!

Raw Veggie Spring Rolls + Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:
1 package brown rice spring roll papers -found at Whole Foods!
Raw veggies: any and all that you have! I used:
Purple and green cabbage, shredded
Carrots, shredded
1 Red pepper, julienned
Baby bella mushrooms, sliced
Baby spinach
2 inches of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

Peanut Sauce:
1/2 cup peanut butter, organic + smooth
1 lime, juiced
1 clove garlic, pressed (1 tsp crushed)
1 Tbsp. Tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos (if you’re not GF you can use soy sauce)
1 Tbsp. hot sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup hot water

Directions:
First, wash and prep all of your veggies and arrange them out for easy access. Have a large plate, serving dish, tupperware, cookie sheet, or something to place all finished rolls on to ‘set’. You will also need a surface to roll on – I used a large cutting board but a clean counter would work!

Next, fill a large bowl-as close to the size as the rice paper circumference as possible-with very warm water. When you’re ready to roll, dip and submerge a sheet of the rice paper in the water for 7-10 good seconds (read back of package in case time varies with each brand). Remove from water and lay flat on your rolling surface. Add all of your fillings and roll like this:

Place on tray spaced an inch apart to set/dry. You can eat them right away or place in an air-tight container in the fridge to enjoy throughout the week. Makes a great light lunch, appetizer, or snack!

Peanut Sauce:
Wisk all ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the hot water until you get to your desired consistency. Add in any extra spices to taste. The sauce will keep in refrigerator up to 10 days.

Enjoy!

Cook Once, Eat Twice! Sweet Potato

Fast, healthy meals are like math. Base (grain or starch) + vegetables + protein + seasonings = a balanced, tasty meal. Even the FDA’s My Plate is a piechart! And despite my dark mathematical past, I’ve got this formula down pat. Because preparedness is ananswer to the problem of staying healthy throughout a hectic week, consider cooking once and eating twice your solution. Get it?! Hehe

Before we dive into the recipes, let’s get down to sweet potato basics. While searching through the pile of potatoes, look for ones with minimal spots, gashes, etc. In addition, select ones that are around the same size. This makes baking easier since they will all have the same cook-time. And if you have the choice…

Buy ‘em organic! Sweet spuds are on the Dirty Dozen list as a highly chemical-sprayed food. If you need further convincing to shell out the extra 60 cents, check out this girl’s science project video. This is also important because you should…

Eat the skin! There is a ton of nutrition loaded in the skin along with fiber that keeps you full. It also prevents blood sugar spikes by slowing down the entrance of glucose into your bloodstream. Eating the whole food in place of just part is a best practice in general. Think rice; brown is better because it’s the whole grain, and white is the grain stripped of it’s germ- aka nutritional rip off!

Cleaning & baking basics:

-Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
-Scrub well and dig out any dodgy spots with the end of a peeler or knife. I usually slice the tips off too.
-Give them some deep pokes with a fork
-Place in a baking dish, on a cookie sheet, or straight up on the oven racks. I personally place them on the racks and slide a piece of foil on the rack below to catch any droppings.
-Bake for 45 min then check them by sticking with a fork. Depending on size and your preference of consistency,  take out or leave in for 15 min intervals, checking as-needed.

So how can you eat thee? Let me count the ways..

1.) My all time fave… the stuffed sweet pot! Load ‘em up with veggies and vary flavor profiles for endless possibilities. From left to right: colorful cabbage, carrots, and  kale with garlic, ginger and bragg liquid aminos (GF soy sauce alternative), spicy black beans, broccoli, & feta, and spinach, mushroom, and onion! Get creative!

2.) Sliced and sautéed 2 ways: the left picture is a sweet version that was browned in a little REAL butter, drizzled with honey, and sprinkled with cinnamon. The other an easy home-fry alternative to your breakfast plate!

3.)  Keep it naked as a compliment to a lighter meal or true on-the-go style by eating the whole potato as is! Wrap it up and throw it in your bag for a satisfying snack any time!

4.) Chopped up and added to greens! On the right it’s a warm dish with kale, and on the left it’s added to a hearty salad! Sweet potatoes add color which means added nutrients. Strive for as many colors as possible to get a wide spectrum of nutrition at every meal!

If you follow me on social media, you well know by now that sweet potatoes are a mainstay in my diet. Even though they are on their way out seasonally, we did just have a frost here in NYC so I’m hoping they’re still relative… at least for a little longer. I encourage you to bake a few and see how you can use them throughout the week when you’re short on time and in need of a healthy meal!

Enjoy!

Posted on March 12, 2015 and filed under cook once eat twice, dinner, lunch.

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

It’s been 3 years that I’ve been 100% gluten-free. I’ve lost that sense of ‘missing out’ when it comes to birthday cake, 3am pizza, and bread baskets. If anything, I am glad I can’t partake because those aren’t exactly high vibe healthy foods. One exception to being glad would be when you’re drinking on a belly full of salad because everything else was breaded and in turn get wayyy more drunk than expected….yeah, I think every GF person learns that lesson at one point or another.
*GF Tip: pack gf crackers or even a slice of gf bread in your purse when you’re not sure what’s on the menu at a function {with an open bar}. Don’t be proud-it will SAVE you.

All that being said, I AM an Irish lass who has grown up on soda bread and refused to be denied my cultural carbs on the very day I’m most entitled to them. So after consulting with the Irish soda bread master, my Grandmother, and tweaking the recipe a few times, I finally was able to replicate the taste and texture to perfection. I hope you enjoy this delicious Irish classic with a noice cupa tea laughing with the ones you love. And don’t be alarmed if you polish off the loaf in one sitting- it’s expected.

Irish Soda Bread (Gluten & Sugar-FREE)

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (TJ’s and Pamela’s brands work well)
1 tsp. xanthum gum (KEY ingredient to mimic gluten)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 Tbsp. butter, softened (aka 1/2 stick)
1/2 cup raisins
2 tsp. caraway seeds
2 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a pan. I used a cast-iron skillet but you could also use a spring-form or a straight up cookie sheet.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl and add softened butter. I used 2 knives to “cut” it in until I eventually dove in with my hands to incorporate throughout. When done, the mix will look like course cornmeal.

Then beat 1 egg and add it to the dry ingredients along with the buttermilk. Mix thoroughly then knead lightly with flour-dusted hands.

Form dough into a ball and place on pan. Shape into a dome and strike a bold cross across the top with a knife. Then use the other egg’s white to brush a thin layer over dough to give it that golden glow.

Bake for 40-50 minutes –set your timer to 40 minutes and don’t open the oven until it goes off, then test center with a knife or cake tester. If completely dry, remove. If you think it could use more time, check at 5 min intervals to prevent drying out. Let it cool a bit before slicing with a bread knife. Because it’s a dry bread, a bread knife is necessary… as well as copious amounts of Irish butter, jam, and tea. My mouth is watering.

Enjoy!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash
4 cups broth (low-sodium veg or chx)
2 cups coconut milk (or half & half)
¼ pure maple syrup (grade B is best!)
2 Tbsp. red curry paste
2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
Fresh Rosemary (optional for flavor/garnish)

Roasted Chickpeas:
1 can of garbanzo beans aka chickpeas
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. curry powder
½ tsp salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet/pan with parchment paper. Half the squash lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and place halves flat side down on sheet. Bake for 1 hour and allow to fully cool.

While the squash is cooling, up the oven temp to 400 degrees. Then drain, rinse, and dry chickpeas. Toss them in a bowl with olive oil and seasoning to evenly coat. Use the same pan with a new sheet parchment paper and lay the chickpeas out in a single spaced-out layer. Bake for 20 min or until golden brown.

Once the squash has cooled, scoop out all pulp and put into a food processor, blender, or mash by hand to get a smooth puree. Place squash puree and all other ingredients into a large soup pot and set heat to medium (If you have an immersion blender, place all ingredients in the pot and blend away!). Mix all ingredients thoroughly and cook uncovered to desired temperature. Optional: I placed a big sprig of rosemary in the pot as it cooked to infuse some flavor.

Pour into a bowl and garnish with few chickpeas. Voila, Fall in a bowl!
Enjoy!

Almond Amaranth Brekkie

Amaranth has THE most protein out of all the gluten-free grains, and that protein also happens to have a blend of the most digestible varieties: “albumins” and “globulins”. This means that it will go down easy, won’t weigh you down, or give you a bubbly tummy. It’s also high in fiber, iron, and magnesium. Because amaranth is such a powerhouse grain but not the most delicious in its class, it’s often added to soups, stews, mixed with other grains, or used in flour form for gluten-free baking to up the nutritional ante.

Breakfast is a non-negotionable for me, however, sometimes making it to the grocery store is not. So when I find myself in a brekkie jam, my go-to is making any grain I have on hand into a healthy AM meal (also see Brown Rice Porridge). The recipe below is extremely hearty and every bit delicious.
After all, nut butter + banana is a flavor match made in heaven.

Almond Amaranth Brekkie

Ingredients:
2 cups almond milk (unsweetened vanilla)-could also use water
1/2 cup amaranth
2 Tbsp. almond butter
1/2 banana
1 tsp. chia seeds
1 tsp. ground flax seed
1 Tbsp. hemp hearts
pinch of salt
hearty dash of cinnamon
stevia to taste

Directions:
Bring almond milk to a boil and add your amaranth. Lower heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Then add your chia, flax, salt, and almond butter. Stir to thoroughly combine. After about 5 minutes, determine if you like the thickness and add extra almond milk if necessary. Sweeten with cinnamon and stevia then pour into a bowl. Top with banana slices and hemp hearts.

Enjoy!

Drink These and Think Summer Thoughts

The ability to be in tune with your body’s nutritional needs is as close to a health destination as you can get in my book. I say this because I’m on the ‘health is not a destination, but a journey’ team, too.

As a health coach I am always seeking to strengthen that connection and intuition not only in myself but also encourage my clients to do the same. The one thing I can say that my body is loud and clear about is how I eat seasonally. I have been repulsed by thoughts of a big salad, raw veggies and fruit, and even green smoothies all winter. Because raw food has a lighter, cooling effect on our body, I’ve been gravitating towards baked sweet potatoes, steamed greens, and tons of soups and stews. This is my body altering cravings according to what I need to survive this relentless winter. Primal instinct really.

However, ever since my quick trip to Florida last month, I have been JONESIN for green smoothies! Spoiled by the in-season local pineapple and citrus, I had a hay-day recipe perfecting. They have been calling my name so much that I plan to buy a new blender this week. I’m convinced it’s beyond craving; it’s a direct order from Mother Nature to start faking-it-till-we-make-it until the groundhog retracts his prediction. These smoothies are my warm weather rain dances in drinkable form. They will take you away via your taste buds to a feeling of sand between your toes and ocean breeze against your face.*

Piña Colada Green Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup (large handful) spinach
1 cup coconut water
1/2 banana
3/4 cup chopped pineapple
2 Tbsp. shredded unsweetened coconut
1 Tbsp. spirulina

Directions: Blend and garnish with coconut shreds and a pineapple chunk! Get fancy.

Creamsicle Green Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup (large handful) spinach
3 oranges, sliced, peeled, de-seeded 
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Stevia: 10 drops liquid or 1 packet

Join me on this delicious and noble quest of conjuring up warmer weather by making these and thinking summer thoughts! Post your smoothie pics and hashtag #conjuringsummer @thatlushlife

*bikini not required.

Enjoy!

Tahini Dressing… I put that ish on everything

Being a huge fan of simple cooking, it’s not uncommon for me to have a meal that consists of only an ingredient or two. This also has made me super crafty when it comes to flavoring these dishes; and because my simplicity often stems from being really hungry and having no patience, the seasoning has to be quick too. This tahini dressing is crack. And you WILL want to put it on everything. It’s perfect on steamed greens, roasted veggies, big salads, as a dip, really on anything you eat. Replace that ranch or packaged dressings with this delicious and nutritious legal condiment drug.
The one, the only….

Tahini Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Generous shakes of: pepper, basil, oregano, red chili flakes,
and/or any other spices you fancy

Directions:
Fill an empty jar with all ingredients and shake well to thoroughly combine. Taste your creation and add seasonings to taste. Seal jar and place in fridge to enjoy over the next 2 weeks (I wouldn’t keep it longer than that-not that it will ever last that long). Just like a fine wine this dressing gets tastier the next day as the flavors fuse and have time to mingle.

Next time you’re starving, whip up a grain, a green, and top it with this. You’re welcome 

That’s a (collard) Wrap!

There’s some kind of novelty eating something that’s wrapped. It sounds healthy, reminds of us burritos, it’s convenient, and hey-you can eat it with your hands and what inner-kid doesn’t want that?? So instead of a doughy, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth flour tortilla, let’s get our greens and enjoy them too by making a collard leaf wrap (or several).
Once you get the science of the collard wrap down, you can literally fill these babies with whatever you want. Last night’s leftover stir fry, Mexican style with your regular burrito fixins, shredded veggies summer roll style dipped in a peanut sauce (people also LOVE to dip things… you know you do too), and the list goes on. Check-out the recipe below on how to prepare your collards and get inspiration for your filling!

Collard Wraps

Ingredients:
1 bunch collards – look for large leaves with minimal holes or tears

Filling idea:
1 can black beans
5 mushrooms
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
fresh cilantro to taste
Green tomatillo salsa

Directions:
Collards: First wash all collard leaves gently and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Then you want to shave down that thick stem and trim it at the leaf. Take a small knife and carefully cut the stem down as close to leaf as possible so its more of a smooth wrap (see photo). Have a large bowl of cold water next to the stove to submerge leaf post-boil to stop cooking. Then, place the leaves in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes, dunk in cold water, shake off water and lay to the side. Repeat for all leaves.

Filling: Sauté onions, garlic, mushrooms, and tomatoes over medium heat with some olive oil (if you use high heat make sure to use coconut oil or another high-heat oil). Cook black beans in a small pot seasoning them with a little salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne (whatever moves you). Have your fresh cilantro and salsa ready to top it all off after you add the other ingredients to the wrap.

When you’re ready to fill, lay the leaf down, place your filling(s) in the middle along the stem (the amount will depend on leaf size). Starting with the large end of the leaf, roll it over the filling tucking in the ends, like a burrito.

Note: You can also eat the collards raw without cooking them if you’re going for a more salad approach. I’ve done it both ways and just personally prefer the cooked version… maybe also because it’s the dead of winter and just thinking about too much raw food gives me the shivers. Either way, experiment and see what YOU like!

Have fun & bon appétit!

Posted on March 12, 2015 and filed under vegan, vegetarian, lunch, dinner.

Cook Once, Eat Twice! {Topping/Filling edition}

The secret to a healthy diet is truly getting into the kitchen and cooking for yourself. When you control the ingredients and are apart of the creation process, not only do you LEARN a lot, but also feel so much more pleasure and satisfaction from the act of eating- which helps you stop when you’re full. Sometimes scarfing down takeout  leaves you feeling jipped so hell yeah you’re going to go for seconds or even polish it all off!

So let’s talk about an easy method that helps us when we are super busy or just starting out in the kitchen; cooking once and eating twice. I do this quite a bit so let’s make this a series. Leave me your cook once, eat twice recipes, ideas, and questions in the comments below!

Cook once: Spinach, onion, mushroom, garlic mix
1 bag baby spinach
1 medium yellow onion
4-5 baby bella mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic- hey, it’s cold season
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pep

It’s as easy as: chop, sauté, season, and use. Heat up a large pan (or wok) over medium heat and add in 1 Tbsp. olive oil and your chopped onion. Once they look a bit translucent, add in the shrooms and garlic. Then handful by handful, add in as much baby spinach at a time as it wilts down until the whole bag is in. Remove from heat and dress with the other Tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Eat twice: for lunch I used this to stuff my baked sweet potato and it was SO good! Healthy, filling,and absolutely delicious. Because we kept the seasoning so neutral you can flavor the mixture to fit whatever dish you’re using it in. I kept it as-is for this one.

For dinner I baked a spaghetti squash and added my mixture to the sauce not only to just add more veggies, but a whole lot of flavor! To this I dashed in oregano and a little parmesan cheese! YUM. This is a great example of ‘sneaking’ greens or extra veggies into meals that don’t usually have them.

You could even eat this mix alone, as a side dish, in an omelet, mix into a bowl of rice or quinoa… possibilities are endless.

Cooking healthy doesn’t mean re-learning the craft along with a slew of new recipes, it just means getting creative and intentional about adding in more nutritionally dense foods to your meals. You got this!

Please let me know how YOU cook and eat twice or any tips that could help us all stay healthy on the go!

MYOG (make your own granola!)

Granola is one of those things that’s great to have on hand butttt is a little pricey and often packed with sugar. You cook at home to control the ingredients, so why not add your favorite breakfast treat into that category?! Save some bucks, get wild with the flavors, and gather your nutritional ingredients- because you are about to make this over and over again. Below is a basic vanilla almond recipe that could easily be supped-up or ingredient-swapped into anything you can imagine. For Christmas I like to do a gingerbread version where I add chopped candied ginger and loads of spices- it’s a real hit.

As always, the quality of your finished product will depend on the quality of ingredients you use. Buy organic when possible and be weary of extra sweetener added to dried fruits, etc.

Vanilla Almond Granola

Ingredients:
5 cups rolled oats
2 cups brown rice crisp cereal (Erwhorn is a good brand)
1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chia seeds and/or hemp hearts
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup agave or maple syrup
1 tsp. sea salt

Directions: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil and agave- especially if the coconut oil is solid. Place the oats in a large bowl and drizzle over the agave and coco oil mixture while stirring to coat the oats. Then throw in your cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and stir that up.

Line 1 or 2 baking pans with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Spread granola out in a thin (1/2 inch) layer and sprinkle on the chia/hemp to stick on the wet oats. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and lightly turn over granola and move the outer portions into the middle and vice versa for even baking. Bake 8-10 minutes more until all is a golden brown. If not dried out enough, reduce oven temperature to 250 and bake for a final 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven when mostly dry- it will crisp up more as it cools down so don’t fret if its not completely crisp right out of then oven.

Let cool completely. Toss in brown rice crisps, raisins, and almonds to cooled granola and store in air tight containers or jars. Will keep 1-2 weeks.

Posted on March 12, 2015 and filed under breakfast, holiday, gluten-free, easy, vegan, vegetarian.

How Kale Made the In-Crowd at Thanksgiving

A huge meal without any leafy greens, Thanksgiving or not, just feels off to me. Because I already wanted to create my dish or claim to fame for the annual feast, I volunteered to make “creamed kale”…whatever that meant. I knew I could sell the group with anything including ‘cream’ and thought it’d be easy to figure out the rest. However, when my sister requested that it be dairy-free, my easy-peasy (aka cheesy) plans went out the window. So to make it “kreamy” (sans dairy) I decided to use tahini for the texture and topped it with gluten-free breadcrumbs to give it that French’s Fried Onion effect.

Faking-it-til-I-made-it, a huge bunch of kale, tahini, and GF bread turned out to be a winning combo that I was proud to place next to the veteran turnips, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and the alike. And because it was such a hit, I had to share so you too, could sneak kale onto a traditional Thanksgiving table.

Kreamed Kale

Ingredients:
1 very large bunch of kale
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
2 pieces of bread (gluten-free or regular)
Optional: 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast to top with bread crumbs

Directions:
Wash, de-stem, and rip kale into small pieces. Steam kale in a large pot until tender and just cooked through (not soggy). Toast sesame seeds dry in a frying pan over medium heat constantly tossing to prevent burning. Place aside. Sauté garlic in a little olive oil over medium heat then add to a bowl with the tahini, olive oil, balsamic, salt, and sesame seeds. Mix thoroughly to make your sauce!
In a large 13 x 9ish size baking pan, mix the kale with the sauce to coat all leaves. Then pat down kale with a fork to make it more cassarole-esque. Toast your 2 pieces of bread and chop finely. Sprinkle over kale with nutritional yeast and pop into a 350-degree oven for 20 min. Finish off under the broiler if your bread crumbs didn’t crisp up enough. Now rest easy my health-seeking friend; a leafy green is next to your turkey and the traditional crew is showing it mad love.

Posted on March 12, 2015 and filed under vegetarian, vegan, side dish, holiday, Thanksgiving.

The Berenstain Bears <3 Porridge

No eggs, no oats, no problem. You can make a great breakfast out of any grain really-when you add the right ingredients. Strive to use whole grains when possible and always give them a good rinse (or better yet, soak) before cooking.

Because I often pack my breakfast and lunch the night before, I had a little panic when I saw I was out of my usual fixin’s. If I get to the early gym class I am beyond hungry by 8am and breakfast is non-negotiable. While thinking of the healthiest option I could grab at my corner bodega, my eyes paused on the bag of brown rice. Hmm…Aha! Brown rice porridge it would be. The word ‘porridge’ always makes me think of The Berenstain Bears books and it’s hard to shake a connection as deep as my childhood is with those paperbacks. So just when you think you have no hope for breakfast, warm up with this meal fit for a grizzly!

Brown Rice Porridge


Ingredients:
1 cup Brown Rice
1 cup Water
2 cups Almond Milk (any milk or even water)
2 Stevia packets or 15 drops liquid
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1 Tbsp. Ground Flax Seeds
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

*Optional add-ins: 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, 1 Tbsp. maca powder

Directions:
Bring the water and almond milk to a boil and add in brown rice and cinnamon. Simmer until rice is cooked through and to desired texture & thickness of the porridge. Add in vanilla, stevia, and ground flax seeds after rice becomes soft and incorporate thoroughly into the mix. The flax will absorb some liquid so add in any extra water or almond milk depending on thick you want it. Taste and tweak accordingly. Some like it more ‘al dente’ and others like it as straight mush. Find your happy place and enjoy!

Power Cocoa

After an early lunch I was feeling sluggish with a hankering sweet tooth that would not quit. Because I don’t keep sweets in the house I was on a mission to create a lil treat with what I had. And so commenced the pantry hunt. With some creativity and determination I satisfied my sweet craving AND got a boost of energy with the power of maca! Maca root is an amazing superfood that is normally sold in a powdered form. It supports hormone balance, energy, stamina, libido, and personally, I think it improves concentration as well. With a great nutty flavor I knew it would be perfect with the raw cacao I also scrounged up. Give this suped up cocoa a try for when you need a boost AND some sweetness in your day.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups Almond Milk
2 Tbsp. Raw Cacao
1 Tbsp. Maca Powder
1-2 Stevia packets

Directions:
Optional first step: place all ingredients in a blender bottle or even a blender to really integrate the ingredients and froth it up! Then place mixture in a small sauce plan to heat through, and serve! OR first heat the almond milk in the pot and add in the powders in slowly while stirring. Enjoy!

Healthy is Cheap! {lentil soup recipe}

f I had $1 for every time I heard “eating healthy is too expensive”…I would probably spend the bounty on my favorite overpriced healthy groceries (I’m a sucker for $10 raw honey and almond butter). Because it’s true, some healthy items are crazy expensive and totally unreasonable when you’re watching your pennies. However, it’s also NOT expensive to eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruits, veggies, legumes, and grains. It’s because everyone is comparing the ‘healthy’ packaged food, that they are getting this unshakable notion. Which is ironic, because eating healthy means eating away from the package whether it’s organic or not.

There are many degrees and ways to scale the cost of healthy food. Just because you can’t afford the local organic broccoli doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat broccoli at all. Get the conventional non-organic or even a bag of frozen florets- its whatever you can do to get those veggies in. We make over 200 food related decisions a day so just be aware of how you can always choice healthier even if you need to be cheaper.

Below is a no-fail simple, healthy, and cheap soup recipe I always make when I’m tight on cash but want to nourish myself all week (it makes a lot). Switch up any component to give it a different flavor profile each time. You can do that with the broth, beans, veggies, and seasonings so get creative!

Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled & chopped
1 32oz box of chicken broth
1 16oz bag of lentils, rinsed & soaked over night
1 bag of arugula or baby spinach
Seasonings: sea salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic, chili flakes, (whatever you want!!)

Directions:
In a large pot sauté onions and carrots until onions start to get translucent. Toss in the broth and lentils {that you rinsed and soaked in a large bowl filled with lots of water the night before}. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower heat, shake in some seasonings, and simmer for 30 min. If lentils have absorbed even more of the liquid, add in 1 cup of water as needed. At this point stir in the bag of greens handfuls at a time to wilt and incorporate. Now give it a taste! Add in any salt, pep, or other additional herbs or spices.

After the soup cools I usually portion out into single serve tupperware for meals that week. If you don’t think you’ll eat it all, put some in a larger one to freeze! This is the best for accumulating healthy frozen options when you’re pressed for time later that month. You can eat the soup alone or pour over some brown rice for a heartier meal (and complete protein!).

Sometimes simple is best. And simple doesn’t have to be a box of mac and cheese. I hope this inspires you to get creative while eating healthy on a budget!

GuaKALEmole Salad

I loooove me some guac! However, because it’s often enjoyed with multiple handfuls of tortilla chips, I don’t indulge as much as I’d like to. This salad tastes like a fiesta in your mouth and is a great way to get in a big serving of dark leafy greens and healthy fats.

Sombrero optional. Enjoy!!

Ingredients:
3-4 kale leaves, de-stemmed
1/2 avocado
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
*dash: salt, pep, garlic powder, cumin

Directions:
In a large bowl, tear kale into lettuce-size leaves. Add in the avocado, juice of the lime, and prepare to get your hands dirty! ‘Massage’ in the avo/lime juice to break down the kale and fully coat leaves with the mash. Toss in all other ingredients and mix it up.

¡Buen provecho!

 

 

Posted on March 12, 2015 and filed under salad, raw.

Sweet Potato Coconut Macaroons

To paint the picture of my childhood, I was raised in a home where my parents sold Nature’s Sunshine supplements out of our living room. Bookshelves of herb bottles are what you’d see if you walked through our door. So naturally, junk food was not usually present and we ate pretty clean. My Mom now tells me stories about how she would slip a vegetable ingredient into almost every recipe she used. A few revealed included zucchini in our pancakes, turnips in the muffins,  and any pureed veggies in pasta sauce- you know how kids hate the chunks. Because, (reluctant to adolescent wishes) I am becoming my mother more and more every day, this recipe that sneaks a veggie into your dessert is kind of like my rite of passage.

Sweet Potato Coconut Macaroons

Ingredients:
4 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoon agave
1 teaspoon stevia powder
2-3 dashes pumpkin pie spice (optional)
1 cup sweet potato mash
1 (8-ounce) package unsweetened shredded coconut
Dash salt
5 ounces (or 3 bars) dark chocolate

Directions:
Bake sweet potatoes at 400°F for 1 hour or until very tender. Let cool and reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Once cooled, remove skin and puree potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.

In a food processor or with a hand mixer, whip egg whites and salt until they become white and begin to stiffen. Add stevia and agave slowly. Then add your sweet potato puree and mix until combined. Transfer mixture to large bowl and gently fold in 90% of the coconut shreds. Place the remaining coconut shreds on a plate. Use a little scoop or tablespoon to scoop out balls of the mixture and then roll them in coconut.

Place the macaroons on a parchment lined baking sheet or whatever baking dish you have! They do not tend to stick to the pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The outside should have some golden brown toastiness but the insides should still be moist. Allow to completely cool.

Place your favorite chocolate in a small saucepan and create a double boiler by placing it in a larger pot filled half-way with water. Put the burner on medium heat and allow the chocolate to melt. Then dip your macaroons into the chocolate and place on parchment paper to set. You can even get creative and do a chocolate drizzle on top!

Enjoy

Posted on March 12, 2015 and filed under dessert, easy.