Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Autumn Roasted Vegetables and Farro Salad

Last weekend was a weekend of firsts for me: my first California football game – Cal vs. UCLA, my first tailgating experience, my first time at the Rose Bowl. It was so much fun! The Rose Bowl is not your typical tailgating experience. Essentially it’s like a big park (beautiful green space!) with A LOT of people picnicking. We had a few “yard” games to play like beanbags and yard golf and of course plenty of food…including this yummy salad.

As much as I love quinoa, a girl just has to spice things up from time to time to add variety and excitement to cooking and eating. And so, with that in mind, I decided on farro tossed with a few of my fall favorites.

Farro is an ancient grain with a lovely texture, nuttiness and elegance that exceeds many common grains. It is also the perfect substitute for Arborio rice in a risotto dish. Though farro is much lower in gluten and easily digested, it should still be avoided by those with celiac disease or a wheat sensitivity. Farro is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and unlike other whole grains, it contains cyanogenic glucosides, which have been found to stimulate the immune system, lower cholesterol and help maintain blood sugar levels. It is also high in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C and E.      

There are different types of farro (pearled, semi-pearled and un-pearled) so make sure you prepare your farro according to the label.

1 ½ cups of uncooked farro
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cubed
3-4 cups of Brussels sprouts, sliced in half
3 tablespoons of fresh sage, chopped finely
½ cup of raw unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
Sea salt
* dried cranberries - optional

Vinaigrette Ingredients
¾ cup EVOO (plus a little extra)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar (plus a little extra)
1-2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Sea salt

* Vinaigrette recipe makes one cup.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Toss the butternut squash and Brussels sprouts (separately) in a large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt. Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper (easier clean up) and transfer the squash cubes and Brussels sprouts to the separate pans. Shake the pans to evenly distribute the veggies.

Roast the Brussels sprouts for approximately 15-20 minutes and the squash for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until tender.

Prepare the farro according to the package or label. When it has finished cooking, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a small skillet. Add the finely chopped sage and fry until slightly crispy.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt until emulsified and somewhat opaque.

Add the farro, squash, Brussels sprouts and fried sage to a large bowl. Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and toss well. Top with pepitas, dried cranberries (optional) and serve!

Note, you will have left-over vinaigrette. Seal it in a jar and keep for up to two weeks.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rich & Creamy Butternut Squash Smoothie

Nothing screams fall like heaping baskets of various winter squash. And though I don’t usually discriminate when it comes to squash, butternut…well, lets just say it holds a very special place in my heart. The smooth creamy color on the outside gives way to the rich buttery flesh on the inside. You can count on almost anything with the word butternut in it to be delicious, including this beautiful velvety butternut squash smoothie.

When buying squash, look for those with a nice firm healthy stem, with even shiny skin free from dents, dings, blemishes and soft spots. Store your squash in a cool dry place (around 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit) and it will keep for weeks, possibly even months.

The hardest part of roasting squash is cutting it open. First, rinse (with water only) the outside of the squash and dry it off. Next trim both ends, slice the squash in half length-wise (keep your fingers out of the way!) and use a spoon to scoop out all the seeds. Drizzle a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil on the flesh and use your fingers to coat it evenly. Place the squash flesh side down on a rimmed baking sheet and you’re ready to roast!

Suggestion, buy more than one butternut squash because you’ll want to enjoy this again ASAP after slurping it down the first time around. Can you say addicting?

1 small to medium butternut squash
1 ½ cups of unsweetened almond milk
3-4 dates, pits removed
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon (your choice!)
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
½ teaspoon of ginger
¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
1 large handful of ice

* If you want to add some superfoods, try either 1 tablespoon of lucuma or chia seeds. This is completely optional J and doesn’t change the flavor of the smoothie at all.

Following the squash prep advice above, roast the squash at 350°F for approximately 40-45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and let cool.

Scoop out all the squash flesh and toss it into a high-speed blender. Add all remaining ingredients and blend on high until velvety smooth and creamy. Pour into glasses or jars and enjoy immediately! Enjoy this dreamy deliciousness with a cinnamon stick for an extra special touch.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fresh & Tangy Goat's Milk Yogurt

The other day I met a friend for tea and naturally we started chit chatting about food and nutrition, two of my favorite topics. The discussion was primarily around how corrupt our food system is and how easy it is to make many things at home, for example yogurt! Susan, my friend, was kind enough to let me try a bite of her homemade soy yogurt and explained how easy it was to make. Making yogurt has been top of mind for a while now; however, there has always been some intimidating aspect of this process. I left her house that day with the intention and motivation to make my very own yogurt…the following weekend. And voila! I did it!

For my first batch I decided on a goat’s milk yogurt using Summerhill Goats Milk from Trader Joes. A client of mine took a cheese-making class at a local goat farm and the farmers suggested using Summerhill because they treat their goats very well, the milk is free from antibiotics and added hormones and it does not undergo ultra pasteurization. Perfect! Now, if you don’t care for the flavor of goat’s milk or cheese, you can always use cow’s milk or any other milk alternative. Next weekend I am going to try cultured almond milk (I’ll keep you posted!).

You may be thinking, but I don’t have one of those fancy yogurt makers. I have great news for you - you do not need one! In fact all you need is a cooking thermometer, saucepan, a stove and a crock-pot, besides the obvious ingredients of course. One thing you will need to decide is whether you would like to use the live bacteria strains from an existing plain yogurt (make sure it lists live bacteria cultures in the ingredients) or the bacteria from a probiotic supplement as your yogurt starter. You can also find yogurt starter packages (by the gelatin) in some stores. I just so happened to have a PLAIN (you’ll want to use plain) organic Greek yogurt in my fridge so I used that for this batch; however, next weekend I plan to use a probiotic supplement for my cultured almond milk. If you choose to use a probiotic supplement it needs to contain live bacteria so it must be one that is kept under refrigeration. You would simply pull the capsule apart and sprinkle the powder in your milk (when the directions tell you to do so).

*Note, due to the length of time the yogurt needs in order to thicken, I suggest starting this process in the late afternoon so it is ready for breakfast the following morning!

1 quart of goat’s milk or 4 cups (cow’s milk, almond, soy, etc.)
½ cup of yogurt starter (or the powder from one probiotic supplement)

Plug in your crock-pot and turn it to high.

Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 180°F (or 110°F if using raw milk). The milk will get frothy but should not boil. Remove from heat and let it cool until it reaches 100-110°F. This part should only take about 30 minutes.

While the milk is cooling, remove your yogurt starter from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.

Remove approximately one cup of milk from the saucepan and mix it with your yogurt starter. Whisk until no lumps remain. Then add it back in with the remaining milk.

*If you are using a probiotic supplement, remove approximately one cup of milk add in the probiotic powder, stir and add it back to the remaining milk.

Turn off your crockpot. Transfer the milk into small jars (that can fit beneath the lid of the crock-pot.

Top the jars with lids and seal them loosely. Place them in the crock-pot.

Put the lid on the crock-pot and wrap the entire crock-pot, including the base, in blankets or towels to create a warm, dark incubating environment. 

Keep it covered overnight for approximately 8-12 hours so the yogurt thickens. In the morning transfer the yogurt cups to the refrigerator and enjoy!

I sprinkled mine with granola, click here for the recipe, cranberries and chia seeds. Yum!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Lemon Ricotta Buckwheat Pancakes with Fresh Strawberries

I am back and happily married!!! Our wedding was completely magical and absolutely perfect in every way. I hired a yoga instructor to lead me and my bridesmaids through a vinyasa flow class the morning of the wedding, which set the tone for the entire day…calm and relaxed. No nerves only feelings of excitement, love and happiness. After the wedding, my husband (still feels new and exciting to say that word!) and I took a trip to Lake Tahoe for a few nights and then Napa for a few nights. It was the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure paired with beauty and fine-dining. I would love to push instant replay and do it all over again but I wouldn’t change one thing. It was like a dream come true. If you're interested in a sneak peek, pop over to the To Be Nourished Facebook page for a couple pictures from the wedding (and "like us" while you're there!). And so, with that said, I’m back and I’m ready to share a delicious new recipe with you.

During the weekend I like to spend a little more time in the kitchen creating a delicious breakfast. My husband doesn’t really eat fruit so I am somewhat limited to what I can whip up; however, I was able to get these on the table without any excuses or complaints. He just left the berries off :) These pancakes are light, fluffy, delicate and delicious! They are slightly sweet but could also be made savory by omitting the coconut sugar and adding in rosemary and thyme. If you go the savory route, perhaps top them with smoked salmon or lox.

¼ cup of whole-wheat all-purpose flour
½ cup of buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Pinch of sea salt
4 tablespoons of coconut sugar (low on the glycemic index!)
1 cup of raw organic ricotta cheese
3 eggs, separated
Juice and zest from one lemon (save a little zest for garnish)
3 tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil
Fresh strawberries (sliced)

*Vanilla Greek yogurt or crème fraiche for serving - optional. You could also use cultured almond of coconut milk yogurt to keep them dairy free.

Mix the ricotta, lemon juice, half the zest, egg yolks (save the whites in a separate bowl for later) and half the ghee or coconut oil.

Gently stir the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and then slowly sift into the ricotta mixture.

Using an electric handheld mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the coconut sugar and whisk again until glossy and peaks are stiff and firm. Using a large spoon, slowly fold the white into the pancake batter. Do not over mix.

Heat a buttered or lightly oiled pan or griddle. Drop the batter onto the pan in large circles and cook for approximately two minutes per side of until fluffy and cooked through.

Serve with Greek yogurt, or crème fraiche and top with fresh strawberries (blackberries or blueberries would also be delicious!) and lemon zest. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Perfect Start to your Day Cookbook

Monday, July 22, 2013

Raw Kelp Noodles with Almond Tahini Sauce

This post has been a long time coming, please forgive me. With only 12 days left until our wedding, unfortunately, Nourished – A Guide to Eating Green has had to take the back seat. Wedding planning is in full force! From now until after the wedding you can expect quick and tasty recipes that don’t require much time in the kitchen. The content will primarily just be the recipe (and photo of course!) until after our honeymoon when there will be some normalcy in my life again. I hope you still enjoy the recipes…even if they are on the short side :) I am so grateful for all of you! 

1 package of kelp noodles (check out this recipe to learn more about kelp noodles!)
2 large carrots
1 cup of green raw organic edamame (peas would also work!)
¼ cup of raw unsalted almond butter
¼ cup of tahini (sesame seed butter)
¼ cup of purified water
2 tablespoons of tamari (or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon of honey
Sesame seeds for garnish

* Add more or less water depending on how thin or thick you prefer the sauce

Place the kelp noodles in a strainer and rinse with cold water. Strain the noodles and then transfer them to a large bowl. Using a scissors cut the noodles into smaller pieces and set aside.

Use a vegetable peeler to create thin carrot ribbons and place them in the bowl with the kelp noodles. Stir in the edamame.

Mix the almond butter, tahini, water, tamari and honey in a separate small bowl and pour over the kelp noodle mixture. Toss the mixture until the sauce has coated the noodles and vegetables.

Transfer to small plates, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Herbed Couscous with Roasted Fennel and Asparagus

I have come to understand the importance of scheduling and time management more than ever before.

Time Management = the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity (wik.)

As a Yoga Teacher in this huge city called Los Angeles, you may have heard of it before :), I find myself driving all over town to guide my lovely students through a 60-minute class. Do I love it? Of course I do! The teaching part that is, not the driving and sitting in traffic part - although it has taught me patience. Add in my nutrition clients - whom I adore, leading nutrition classes, recipe development, preparing and blogging, admin time and oh yeah, planning my wedding…whoa! Someone please throw me a calendar with loads of reminders :)

I am beyond grateful for the life that I am living, the career and business that I am building and for the support of my fiancé, friends and family. Through this journey I now realize how important it is to block off every commitment of my day to stay organized whether this be for teaching, counseling, exercising or relaxing. Let me tell you, I feel better already! Are you in the same boat? You should try it! It is all about prioritizing your time.

Okay, on to the recipe. Cooking a delicious healthy meal doesn’t have to take an abundance of your time. In fact, sometimes the tastiest meals take the shortest amount of time to prepare. Here, I have paired roasted fennel and asparagus with couscous for a simple, fresh and light summer dish.

Interested in learning more about the health benefits of fennel? Click here

Note, you could also use quinoa to keep it gluten-free.

* Serves 2 as a dinner entree

1 large fennel bulb sliced thin (I used my mandolin)
1 large bunch of asparagus, washed and ends trimmed
1 can of organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 cup of whole-wheat couscous
1 cup of vegetable stock (or water)
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Sliced raw almonds
1 lemon
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place the sliced fennel and asparagus on a pan and lightly drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Roast for approximately 8 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable stock (or water) and one tablespoon of olive oil to boil. Add the couscous, stir, cover and remove from heat. Let the couscous sit, covered, for approximately five minutes. Add basil, garbanzo beans and fluff with a fork.

Spoon the couscous onto a plate. Top with roasted fennel and asparagus. Squeeze with fresh lemon and top with sliced almonds just before serving.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Pistachio Puree and Citrus Vinaigrette

In case you aren't aware, I got engaged a little over one year ago and I am getting married in 7 weeks! I cannot believe it is almost here! It feels like just yesterday I was calling my friends and family back home to share our exciting news. Tomorrow morning I am leaving (on a jet plane ;) for my wedding shower back in Wisconsin – can you believe it?! I wanted to post an inspiring seasonal salad before checking out for a few days and this beautiful work of art is what I’ve created.

I’ve been extremely busy teaching yoga, leading nutrition classes and meeting with other wellness professionals in my community that my time in the kitchen has taken a back seat. I absolutely LOVE to cook and create new healthy delicious recipes and realized that I need to find time for this “therapy” in my crazy, somewhat chaotic world. I always tell my clients that if they enjoy something enough they will find a way to make it a priority. Today I listened to my own advice and made creative cooking a priority!

Arugula (a.k.a. rocket) is a leafy green, which is sometimes classified as an herb, with a spicy peppery flavor. The smaller leaves are generally milder in taste and less bitter. Arugula is high in antioxidants essential in reducing free radical activity in the body. The flavonoid compounds and Vitamin A in arugula may prevent certain forms of cancer such as skin, lung and oral. The sharp leafy green is rich in Vitamins A, K and C and is great at boosting the immune system and improving eye health. Unlike spinach, arugula is low in oxalates, which inhibit mineral absorption in the body, and is therefore a great alternative for people seeking greens high in calcium and other minerals.

Organic wild arugula (rinsed and dried)
Sliced white or yellow nectarines
1/2 cup of soaked pistachios (raw and unsalted)
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup of EVOO
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup of fresh water
1 teaspoon of honey
Sea salt

Blend the pistachios, apple cider vinegar, water, honey and a dash of salt in a blender or food processor until you have a creamy puree. Set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, add the orange juice to a blender or glass bowl. Slowly begin to add the olive oil (at low speed if using a blender or whisk quickly) until the ingredients have emulsified and look opaque and thoroughly combined. Add sea salt to taste. Transfer to a small jar or bottle and set aside.
Spoon some of the pistachio puree to a plate. Top with arugula and nectarine slices. Drizzle with orange vinaigrette and add a few whole pistachios as a garnish (optional). Enjoy!

* Add cooked quinoa to the salad if you’re eating this salad as an entrée.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Watermelon Basil Salad

I featured this recipe in my newsletter last month but it is so yummy and easy that I had to share!  What can be more refreshing than watermelon on a hot summer day? This summertime salad literally takes five minutes to make, if the watermelon is already cut up, and oddly the flavors play nicely together. So before you turn your nose up at the thought of balsamic vinegar and watermelon - try it! Did I mention that this watermelon salad is also the perfect choice for your friend's backyard barbeque? No cooking involved, less than five minutes to make, extremely beautiful, nutritious and even the kids will eat it!

Watermelon is sweet, juicy and delicious and has recently been catching the eye of researchers and scientists due to its high concentration of lycopene. Lycopene is a phytonutrient (natural chemical found in plants) that supports cardiovascular health and more recently noted - bone health. In addition, watermelon also contains an amino acid called citrulline which is converted by our kidneys into another amino acid called arginine. Arginine can help improve blood flow and may prevent excess accumulation of fat in fat cells. Toss in antioxidants, vitamin C, zinc and iron (if you eat the seeds) and you've got yourself an incredibly delicious and nutritious fruit! In order to get the most nutrients out of your perfectly selected watermelon, make sure you enjoy it once it has fully matured or ripened (a.k.a. red flesh!).

One watermelon
Fresh basil (add as much as you like!)
Balsamic vinegar
Raw organic feta cheese, crumbled

* Simply leave out the feta cheese to make it vegan friendly!

Slice a watermelon up into bite-sized cubes and place the fruit into a large bowl. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, top with chopped basil and feta cheese and enjoy!

*Store in the refrigerator and eat within two hours of making or the watermelon may get soft.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fudgy Chocolate Flax Muffins

Sometimes I get the urge to bake. I will raid my pantry and cabinets looking for items that I can combine to make something delicious and worth devouring. Today happened to be one of those days. And of course I had overripe bananas, which are cause for instant toss-in (shhh…don’t tell my fiancé, he doesn’t eat bananas and he LOVED these :). What you don’t know can’t hurt you right?

Most of the ingredients found in this recipe can easily be found in your everyday grocery store. The only thing you may have to search for at a food coop or specialty market may be flaxseed.

Flaxseeds are extremely small and provide “huge” benefits to your health. There are three unique benefits when it comes to flaxseed. First, flax is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA has been found to be stable for up to three hours of cooking which means you are still getting the benefits of omega-3s even after using them in baked goods! Second, another feature of flaxseed is its lignans. Lignans are fiber-like structures that also provide antioxidant protection. The third quality that makes flaxseed unique is its mucilage (gum) content. What in the world does this mean? Mucilage refers to the water-soluble, gel-forming fibers that can support the intestinal tract by improving nutrient absorption. Still lost at gel-forming? If you place a tablespoon of flaxseed in water and let it sit for a few moments the mixture will become thick and viscous. This is due to mucilage. Amazed? Me too!

Muffins generally get a bad reputation for being junk food. Now, I can’t always argue this statement because more times than not I would agree. However, these muffins call for a natural sweetener, whole-wheat flour and almond meal, flax (super seed!), raw cacao, coconut oil (no butter!) and dark chocolate. Overall I consider these muffins to be super yummy and a lovely upgrade!

½ cup of coconut oil, melted
¼ cup of pure maple syrup
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons of coconut cream
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
¼ cup of water
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
1/3 cup of raw cacao powder
½ cup of almond meal or flour
2 tablespoons of ground flax
1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
1/3 cup of chopped dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large muffin pan with liners or spray with a non-stick cooking spray.

Using an electric mixer or standup mixer, cream the oil and maple syrup. Add the bananas, coconut cream, vanilla and water until smooth. Beat in the eggs.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cacao powder, almond meal, ground flax, baking soda and sea salt. Slowly mix the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients. Fold in the dark chocolate.

Spoon the batter into the muffin liners and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted comes out clean. Place the muffins on a cooling rack for five minutes, or as long as you can wait before diving in :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Coconut Rice Pudding

After days of blazing temperatures, hovering right around 100 degrees, it has finally cooled down bringing heavy rain! Hooray! Most people don’t cheer for cooler, wetter weather but I do! I have this narrow window of what I feel ideal temperature is and 90 degrees (and above) definitely does not fit into this range. Plus my garden and lawn were starting to dry up!

As a child, my aunt used to make a rice pudding dish that was one of my favorites but it was generally served cold. Naturally, when it is damp and cool my body demands warming foods. So this morning as I was brainstorming what to make I decided on a dairy-free hot rice pudding to warm my bones J. I also added flavors of vanilla and cinnamon for added comfort and spice and topped it off with raisins for sweetness.

Cinnamon is not only a spice used for culinary purposes but for health purposes too! Cinnamon can be used to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, to stop medication-resistant yeast infections, increase libido and to prevent certain types of cancer. Cinnamon can be used in its whole form (a.k.a. cinnamon stick), ground or as an essential oil.

* You are more than welcome to use regular milk if you choose but know that the coconut milk does not make it taste coconut”y”.

1 cup of brown basmati rice (or any other long grain rice)
1 can of full fat coconut milk
1 cup of water
½ cup of raisins
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Bring the rice, coconut milk and water to a boil. Add the raisins and then cover and simmer until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (approximately 35 minutes). Remove from heat.

Add the maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir, serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Veggie Noodle Tom Yum Soup

Many people think of soup as a winter dish. I can somewhat understand this theory based on the ingredients in the soup; however, I find that a zesty, vegetable filled soup can be just as delicious on a warm summer (or SoCal :) day.

Our fridge is typically loaded with vegetables and one of the best ways to use veggies up before they spoil is soup or stir fry’s. TomYum is a clear spicy soup that originates from Laos and Thailand. The name comes from two words “Tom” and “Yam”. “Tom” refers to the boiling process while “yam” means a spicy sour salad. So literally the name Tom Yum is hot and sour soup.  Not too tricky huh? Now I added a special twist to the soup by adding the soba noodles; however, you could most definitely leave these out and it would be just as delicious!

If you haven’t seen lemongrass before it can typically be found in an ethnic grocery store or a specialty market (can be found at Whole Foods). It is green and white in color with razor-like blades and has been used as a super-herb for hundreds of years for medicinal and culinary purposes. Lemongrass does in fact have a very strong citrus flavor when cut or crushed due to the essential oils being released. Lemongrass is anti-microbial and anti-fungal and can be used to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the body externally and internally. Additionally lemongrass can be used for aromatherapy to restore and revitalize the body and in teas to flush toxins and waste. Check out more health benefits here!

1 package of soba noodles
6 cups organic vegetable stock
2 stalks of lemongrass, smashed and cut into 1 inch slices
5 kaffir lime leaves, shredded (found at an Asian food store or specialty market)
4 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon of chili paste
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 cups of broccoli florets
2 baby bok choy, chopped
1 cup of shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup of sugar snap peas
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 carrots sliced
2 green onions, sliced thinly
Cilantro for garnishing

Add all ingredients from the vegetable stock through the garlic to a large stockpot and bring to a boil.

In the meanwhile prepare the soba noodles as directions indicate on the package and set aside.

Add the broccoli, bok choy, mushrooms, bell pepper and carrots to the boiling stock. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for approximately 15 minutes. Add in the sugar snap peas and simmer for an additional five minutes. Remove from heat.

Add soba noodles to individual bowls, top with Tom Yum broth and vegetables. Garnish with cilantro and green onion before serving. Delicious!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

RAWkin Mediterranean Cauliflower Salad

My fiancé’s mother arrives tomorrow morning so I have been busy cleaning, planning meals and trying to get some work done in advance because well, it’s difficult to get things done when I’d rather be enjoying time spent with my guests. There were three things that came to mind when I started thinking about my newest post…

1.     I needed to get a post written for my blog today!
2.     I wanted to try and use things I had on hand and in my refrigerator
3.     It is sunny and beautiful and I wanted to create something light and refreshing

Are you ready to see what I came up with?? Of course you are because you already got a sneak peek from the picture above! Silly me J. Anyway, I used a handful of raw veggies, a couple of fresh herbs, some citrus, olive oil and a bit of sea salt. Voila - RAWkin Mediterranean Cauliflower Salad. This was so easy, requires no cooking and is surprisingly addicting.

Typically I choose one item in the recipe to talk about in terms of the health benefits…and well, lets be honest, most times it is a vegetable. Today I have decided to switch things up a bit and feature the amazing herb, Parsley! Parsley is rich in so many vitamins such as: Vitamins A, K, Beta Carotene, Folate, Iron and Vit C.  Actually, the Vitamin C found in Parsley supports the absorption of Iron and can help cure anemia and fatigue. This herb can improve the hormonal balance in women and can be helpful in easing cramps during menstruation and other pre-menstrual symptoms. Parsley is also a power plant when it comes to chlorophyll and can curb the growth of bad bacteria in the body. Its volatile oils can prevent certain forms of cancer and consuming parsley daily (uh hum…in your smoothies or juices! Add it to this recipe!) may reduce high blood pressure and prevent high blood pressure. So next time this little herb is used as a garnish on your plate – EAT it!!

1 small head of cauliflower
1 red bell pepper, diced
2-3 zucchini chopped into cubes
1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced (I used yellow!)
1 cup of kalamata olives, sliced
½ cup of chopped mint
½ cup of chopped parsley
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
Juice from two lemons
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
Sea salt

Grate or finely chop the cauliflower (so it looks like rice or little crumbles) into a large bowl. Squeeze the juice from ½ of one lemon and 1/8 cup of EVOO into the bowl and stir. Set aside.

Chop the remaining veggies and herbs and add them to the cauliflower along with the olives.

Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemons into a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil, garlic and salt. Once it starts to emulsify pour it over the veggie mixture, stir and serve!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Strawberry Lime Mini Desserts

I’m sure that some of you may despise me for this excitement-filled post about Spring because, well, I know that Spring hasn’t made an appearance in some parts of the country yet :). But contrary to what you may think, this post is intended to get you just as excited about the change in season as it is for those of us on the west coast! I will offer you one word - strawberries! Where does your mind wander when you think of the word strawberry?

I’ll go first, dessert! It is strawberry season here in California and they are everywhere! Grocery stores, farmers markets and stands on the side of the road. The berries are juicy and sweet and a rich vibrant red (all the way through!) in color. I purchased a great big carton of them, even though my fiancé does not eat strawberries, and figured I could eat all of them by myself. I was wrong. My eyes were once again bigger than my tummy :) Naturally, I did not want the berries to spoil so I decided to whip up a tasty treat using strawberries and limes as the filling and almonds and coconut as the crust.  These mini desserts not only look awesome for Spring/Summer but they taste amazing too!

Strawberries have been ranked number 27 on the 50 best antioxidant sources among commonly eaten foods (many of these 50 are spices and number four when only fruits were considered. The lovely red berries support cardiovascular health, improve the regulation of blood sugar and may prevent certain types of cancer such as breast, cervical and colon. Strawberries are also loaded with vitamin C, which boosts our immune system, helps detoxify our body and promotes healing of our cells.


Crust Ingredients
1 cup of raw almond meal (ground raw almonds)
½ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
4-5 large medjool dates (pits removed)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of coconut oil

Filling Ingredients
1 cup of raw cashews (soaked in water for at least 1-3 hours)
2 cups of sliced strawberries
Zest and juice from one lime
½ heaping cup of coconut cream or coconut butter (can be found at Trader Joes, Whole Foods and most grocery stores in the ethnic food aisle)
2 tablespoons of raw honey or agave
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
4-5 drops of liquid stevia

* Recipe makes 12 mini desserts

Put all of the crust ingredients into a blender or food processor and mix until you have a sticky dough.

Next, get your mini cheesecake pan or muffin pan out and press the almond/date mixture down into the pan to form the crust. Place the pan in the freezer or refrigerator while you make the filling.

Rinse the blender or food processor out so you start with a clean slate! Add the cashews and lime-juic (make sure you save the peel so you have the zest for later!) and blend until smooth.

Add the strawberries, coconut cream, coconut oil, honey and stevia. Continue to blend until well mixed, thick and creamy.

Remove the cheesecake/muffin pan from the freezer. Top each crust with strawberry mixture and lime zest. If you have extra strawberries you can also top each mini dessert with half of a strawberry or a thin slice.

Store in the freezer. Let each dessert sit for a few minutes before serving so it thaws slightly and becomes creamy. 

* To remove from a muffin pan, use a sharp knife and carefully insert the knife between the dessert and the side of the pan. Gently work your way under and around the dessert. They should pop out easily.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Roasted Beet Pasta Sauce

Wow! Life just turned up its speed on me and things got crazy…in a good way J. Generally after a busy week, or when I’m feeling tired, I start to crave comfort foods. You know what I mean right - foods that are warming and often times rich, thick and creamy. But, yes there is a but, my body does not agree with foods that come with rich, thick and creamy (i.e. cheese, heavy cream, cream soups, butter, etc.). And so I set out to create a pasta dish that seemed like comfort food and would leave me feeling light and nourished rather than full and sluggish. It is my pleasure to introduce to you this creamy, healthy (check out the health benefits here!) and lip-smacking good Roasted Beet Pasta Sauce!

For this recipe, I topped brown rice pasta noodles with the beet sauce and roasted Brussels sprouts; however, you can use any pasta and veggie of your choice. Oh and don’t forget the goat cheese. Though I try to stay away from cheese most of the time, goat cheese and beets just go together if you ask me J Use just a little bit!

* Sorry for all the noodle recipes lately, you can look forward to a Spring dessert next week!

4 medium sized beets
½ cup of purified water (or vegetable stock) to thin out the sauce
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4-5 fresh basil leaves
2 cloves of roasted garlic
Sea salt (I love Himalayan pink salt)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Rinse the beets under fresh water, cut the beet greens off of the beets and wrap individually in foil. Transfer the beets to a pan or baking dish and roast for approximately 40 minutes or until you can easily pierce the beet with a fork. Add your garlic cloves (with skin on) to the oven for the last 10 minutes.

Remove the foil and let the beets cool long enough for you to handle. Use a wet cloth or paper towel and gently remove the beet skin or peel. It should come off easily. Cut the beets in smaller chunks and transfer to a blender or food processor.

Add the garlic (skin removed), olive oil, basil leaves and vegetable stock or water to the blender or food processor and mix until creamy. Continue to add stock or water until you reach your desired consistency. Add salt to taste.

Serve over your favorite pasta and top with your favorite veggie (the Brussels sprouts paired nicely).