Friday, May 30, 2014

Horchata Smoothie with a Superfood Booster!

When my husband and I lived in San Diego part of our weekly routine was walking down to the OB Farmer’s Market on Wednesday nights. We had our favorite stands for produce, flowers, hummus and fresh pasta that we’d pick up for the week and then there was also our favorite stand for dinner. Yes, dinner at the Farmer’s Market. If you haven’t had dinner at the Farmer’s Market yet – you should try it! Eating amongst fresh produce, artisan foods, handmade jewelry and crafts with live music in the background and the best people watching ever is something truly special. For us, our go-to was the stand Ortega’s Cocina would set up outside their restaurant. We would nosh on fresh tamales, pupusas and the most amazing horchata. It was probably not the healthiest of meals but definitely worth the splurge.

Horchata (or-CHA-tah) is a Mexican or Latin cinnamon rice milk or drink typically made with white rice, almonds or tiger nuts, water, cinnamon and sugar. It is smooth, creamy, sweet and so yummy! While I love horchata in its true form, I also enjoy “healthifying” recipes. It is so fun to transform a recipe into something a bit healthier (notice I didn’t say completely healthy J). This is exactly what I did in this horchata smoothie recipe. If you’d rather just have the milk, not the smoothie, simply leave out the bananaJ. I’ve also added Lucuma Powder to this smoothie as a superfood booster! Lucuma provides 14 essential trace elements, including calcium, potassium and magnesium, plus fiber, protein and antioxidants.

2/3 cup of uncooked brown rice
4 ½ cups of fresh water
1 cup of blanched almonds, skins removed
2 medjool dates, pits removed
1 large banana (if you’re making a smoothie)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon of Sunfood tropical lucuma powder
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Add the uncooked brown rice to the blender and pulverize until you are left with a rice-powder.

Transfer the rice powder to a large bowl; add the raw almonds (skins removed), cinnamon stick and 2 ½ cups of boiling water. Let cool, cover and refrigerate overnight. 

Add the rice/almond mixture, dates, ground cinnamon, vanilla and remaining two cups of water to a high-speed blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.

Place a large metal sieve over a bowl and line with cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Slowly pour the horchata mixture through the fine mesh stirring and using a wooden spoon to press the pulp against the sieve to extract as much liquid as possible. Lift the cheesecloth or bag and use your hands to squeeze the remaining pulp to get all the liquid out. Discard the pulp.
Pour the horchata into a glass bottle or pitcher and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If you want to make a smoothie – keep reading!

Pour two cups of horchata into the blender. Add the large banana, Lucuma Powder and a handful of ice. Blend until smooth. Pour into one large glass, or two smaller glasses, and drink immediately! So delicious!!!

**Blanching Almonds**

Add the raw almonds to a large glass bowl. Pour boiling water over the top and let sit for one minute. Pour the almonds and water through a strainer and rinse with ice-cold water. Use your fingers to slide the skins off the almonds. That’s it!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Creamy Dairy-Free Tortilla Soup

This post has taken me an eternity to write and I have only myself to blame. When I blog, I like my posts to be complete, well thought-out, educational and to feature beautiful food photography. Herein lies the problem – time.

Since we’ve settled into Santa Cruz, my work has been pulling me in many different directions (good problems – not complaining ;), leaving me with less time to create and write about new exciting recipes. Last night I came to the realization that this is part of life. There will always be something we’d like to do IF we just had a little more time. Well folks, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but one day is equivalent to 24 hours or 1,440 minutes, and unless someone quickly builds a time machine – this is not going to change anytime soon. So…I am done making excuses. It’s time to take control of the time I have.

* I will find more time to do the things I love – cook, write, practice and teach yoga, support my clients, get lost in nature and spend time with my friends and family!
* I will spend less time wandering aimlessly on the Internet
* I will worry less about whether my blog posts are complete and instead feel excited to share what I have
* I will spend more time learning about nutrition, wellness and mindfulness
* I will find a way to volunteer my time to a cause I believe in
* I will make the best use of the time I have for ME and those who I love

I leave you with one question, how will you make the best use of your time for you, the things you love and for those you love?

Now back to the post J. The hubs and I LOVE tortilla soup but not all the heavy cream and cheese that often times goes into it. I started researching different ways of making tortilla soups “creamy” without the use of dairy and guess what I found? Tortillas! Yes, good ol’ corn tortillas to thicken the soup, making it feel thick and silky. What an incredible idea! I used this as inspiration for my own version – because I don’t know how to follow recipes. I always end up adjusting spices, ingredients, etc. Today I leave you with just a recipe and a picture, nothing more. And it will be okay J

4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (28-oz.) fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can of black beans
1 cup cup of organic whole kernel corn
1 small yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges
3 cloves of garlic (still in the paper)
1 jalapeño
2 teaspoons dried cumin
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
1 ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Sea salt & pepper
4 corn tortillas, chopped (plus one extra for crispy topping)
Juice from 1 lime

Optional toppings
crispy tortilla strips
avocado, sliced
lime wedges
queso fresco

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss the onions, whole jalapeno and garlic cloves with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a large baking sheet and roast for about 20-30 minutes or until the edges of the onions darken. Toss them about halfway through. Remove the garlic after about 5 minutes, so it doesn’t burn and the jalapeno when the skin is blackened and blistering.

Place the roasted jalapeno in a small glass bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap (make sure the plastic does not touch the jalapeno). Let it cool for approximately 15 minutes. Using utensils, carefully peel off the skin and remove the stem and seeds, being careful not to touch your eyes when doing this.

In a medium pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil; add the onions, garlic (skin removed), jalapeno, tomatoes, oregano, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, paprika and some salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add a splash of apple cider vinegar and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the broth and chopped tortilla pieces and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. The tortillas will start to break apart. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Transfer to a high-speed blender and puree until smooth. Add additional broth or water if the soup is too thick for your liking. Squeeze in some lime, taste and season accordingly.

Stir in the corn and black beans. Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil and the optional toppings of your choice J